Three “Pete’s”

Repeat (Dictionary):To do or make again, to say again, to say over, recite.

Repeat (Bible):To repeat, do again, to speak.

The Apostle Peter seemed to have a knack of getting himself into trouble or needing Jesus to speak about a subject three times! It shows us that our heavenly Father has great patience. He wants us to understand-even when it may take a few experiences to drive home His point. Let’s look at Peter in his “3-Pete” experiences:

John 13: 5-10: 5Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.  6So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?”  7Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.”  8Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”  9Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”  10Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” (NASB)

Jesus has told the Disciples plainly that all He says (and does) is directly by command of Father God. Jesus also says that rejection of His words leads to judgment. So they have this told to them just before the foot washing and as a result should therefore understand that what Jesus is about to do is a command from Father God. Peter again has 3 statements that Jesus responds to:

  • Verse 6 “Lord, do You wash my feet?” Here Peter is saying something in rebellion to what Jesus has said. He is saying –not me! Jesus patiently responds “What I do you do not realize now, but you shall understand hereafter.”
  • Verse 8 “Never shall You wash my feet!” Here Peter has made a second challenge to Jesus and in a very strong way. Jesus finally has to rebuke Peter by saying “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”
  • Verse 9 Lord, not me feet only, but also my hands and head” Jesus responds to Peter and goes on to explain about servant hood.

John 21: 15-17: 15So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.”  16He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.”  17He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.” (NASB)

Again we see Jesus taking three times to get a point across to Peter.

Matthew 26: 33, 34: 33But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” 34Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”  35Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.” All the disciples said the same thing too. (NASB)

Here we see Peter taking a stand within his self-confidence and still not understanding what Jesus was saying. The disciples just were still not sure exactly what was going on. Peter was arguing with Jesus but in the end his self will was revealed and he wept.

John 12: 44-50: 44And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me.  45He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me.  46I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.  47If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. 49For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.  50I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” (NASV)

There is so much to learn in John 12 and 13! These encounters between Jesus and Peter point out some critical issues for us.

  • We can all be like Peter at times- stubborn and resisting what God wants to do in us. This is rebellion and this can be hurtful to us and the Lord.
  • We need to take God’s word very seriously! Jesus revealed the Father and what the Father expects. And one of the things we are to do is to study and listen to what Jesus said and did. Having to go through something 3 times can be hard! There is the easy way and there is the hard way.
  • We must not let our will superimpose over that of God’s lest we get a rebuke.
  • God is seeking humble servants– not those who seek greatness. Jesus used the foot-washing to demonstrate that point. He even washed the feet of Judas.
  • If Jesus waited to hear from Father God, and was obedient to His will and His commands, should we not do the same? Waiting is not wasting!
  • Finally, in every situation in our lives, God has a plan. We will understand someday. Peter did finally see what God had done in his life-so will we!

I guess we can all be like Peter at times. It may even take the Lord two or three times to really get our attention! God wants us to be tuned into what He is doing and not be caught up in our own little world. So, we may have “re-peats” but God loves us and is patient with us. Let’s learn to listen and take the more sensible way!

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