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Humble Hero

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    Peter Is Restored to Confidence

    Christ had another lesson to give. Peter had denied his Lord in shameful contrast to his earlier professions of loyalty. He had dishonored Christ, and the other disciples thought he would not be allowed to take his former position among them. He himself felt that he had forfeited his calling to be a disciple. He must give evidence of his repentance in front of them all. Without this, his sin might destroy his influence as a minister of Christ. The Savior gave him opportunity to regain the confidence of the others and, as far as possible, to remove the discredit he had brought on the gospel.HH 372.2

    Here is a lesson for all of Christ’s followers. We should confess secret sins to God in secret, but open sin requires open confession. The disciple’s sin causes Satan to triumph and wavering followers to stumble. By giving proof of repentance the disciple is to remove this disgrace.HH 372.3

    While Christ and the disciples were eating together, the Savior said to Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” referring to the other disciples. “Yes, Lord,” he said, “You know that I love You.” Jesus told him, “Feed My lambs.” Peter made no vehement claim that his love was greater than that of the others.HH 372.4

    Again Jesus applied the test: “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” The second response was like the first, free from extravagant claims: “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.”HH 372.5

    Once more the Savior asked the testing question: “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved. He knew that his Lord had reason to distrust him, and with an aching heart he answered, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Again Jesus said, “Feed My sheep.”HH 372.6

    Three times Peter had openly denied his Lord, and three times Jesus pressed home that pointed question like a barbed arrow to his wounded heart. In front of the assembled disciples Jesus revealed the depth of Peter’s repentance and showed how thoroughly humbled the once boasting disciple was.HH 372.7

    Just before Peter’s fall, Jesus had said to him, “I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Luke 22:32. The transformation in Peter was plain to see. Because of his humiliation and repentance, Peter was better prepared than before to act as shepherd to the flock.HH 372.8

    The first work Christ entrusted to Peter was to feed the “lambs”—to minister to those who were young in the faith, to teach the ignorant, to open the Scriptures to them and educate them for usefulness in Christ’s service. For this work his own suffering and repentance had prepared him.HH 373.1

    Before his fall, Peter was always ready to correct others and to express his mind. But the converted Peter was very different. He retained his former energy, but the grace of Christ regulated his zeal. He could then feed the lambs of Christ’s flock as well as the sheep.HH 373.2

    The Savior’s manner of dealing with Peter taught the disciples to meet the sinner with patience, sympathy, and forgiving love. Remembering his own weakness, Peter was to deal with his flock as tenderly as Christ had dealt with him.HH 373.3

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