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Scripture Reference: John 21:15-19
- Taking chances on someone is risky
- We grow the most when God remakes us
- God always gives another chance
SIFTING THE WHEAT
by Ashley Bumgarner
Why do we run from brokenness? Why do we hide from the hand of the Lord? We wonder if He will crush us during the pressing. We are fearful if we leave it all behind that we will have nothing. We are tearful that we will be forsaken and humiliated. We are ashamed because of our political stance and pride. We are glorified in the works of our own hands.
What would happen if we were to submit ourselves to God in full humility, surrendering our lives to Him? Surely this is more than the sinner’s prayer, but a life-changed.
My Father explained brokenness powerfully to me in the life of the Apostle Peter. In the Apostle Peter we see a life-changed, submitted, and strengthened by brokenness:
In John 21:15-19 the resurrected Jesus is asking Peter (3 times) if he loves Him. He was restoring Peter after Peter denied Him 3 times. But there is more to this story – something you may not know:
These verses say a lot, and we need to look at the original Greek to understand what is being said. The first 2 times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, the Greek word agapeo is used for love. I think you know agape is the highest form of love; a self-sacrificing love. Peter answered Jesus both times saying that he loved Him, but the Greek word phileo is used for love, which is a friendly, brotherly love. Then the 3rd time Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, Jesus now uses the word phileo. This is when Peter said “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love (phileo) You” (love You as a friend).
Remember, before all of this happened, Peter assured Jesus he would die for Him (John 13:37). Peter was a bold man and probably very self-confident. He surely defended Jesus in the garden (he cut the servant’s ear off), but then ran away and denied that he even knew Him. Jesus was asking Peter if he still had the agape, self- sacrificing, willing to die for Him, kind of love. But now Peter had been broken by his failure; his self-confidence was gone. This is why Peter answered with the word phileo. He was telling the Lord, maybe I really don’t love you as much as I thought I did, but I love you as a friend. Then Jesus asked him if he (even) loved Him as a friend? Peter was grieved, but assured the Lord that he did. Jesus then told Peter the time was coming when he would indeed die for Him (vs.18,19).
After this, Peter was fully restored! In less than 2 months, Peter, filled with the Spirit, was chosen to preach to the multitudes on Pentecost and 3,000 were saved! Peter went on to be one of the great leaders of the early Church. When he was filled with self- confidence and pride, he was not ready to lead the Church. Now he was ready!
Have you been broken yet, beloved? There is no room for pride, self-confidence or selfish ambition in God’s kingdom. If you will not humble yourself, God will surely allow you to be sifted like wheat (Luke 22:31)
Questions to Ponder
What keeps us from giving people another chance?
- Think about a time when you were at your worst. What did God do to help you?
- How did he make you (not it) better?
- What does it say about God that he always gives more chances?