Did you know…
…that this isn't the first time Peter has been asked the same question three times in a row? In this week's gospel, when the resurrected Jesus appears to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, he asks Peter three times in a row, "Do you love me?" This might seem odd, until we remember that it was only days before that Peter had been asked something else three times in a row:
John 18:15-18, 25-27
Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.
Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.
Just weeks before this interaction with Jesus by the Sea of Tiberias, Peter was asked three times if he knew Jesus, and three times he denied it. In this moment, Jesus asks Peter three times, "Do you love me?" And three times Peter is given the chance to say "Yes." Up until this point we can only imagine the regret and shame that Peter might have been carrying with him for his denial of even knowing Jesus while his dear friend and teacher was on trial only steps away from him. That day, by the Sea of Tiberias, the resurrected Jesus gave Peter a second chance, an opportunity to let go and to heal. What are some of the regrets you carry with you? What can you imagine would help you let go of them? Take some time to share your thoughts with the group.