The story of Easter is such a powerful message of forgiveness and love, this is illustrated by Peter’s story.
After finishing the passover meal and the first communion Jesus says the following to Peter
“Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
A little later Jesus is led away and taken to the house of the high priest, Peter is following at a distance and upon arriving is seated around a fire in the court yard where a servant girl identifies Peter to which he denies he was with Jesus, a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” and Peter again denies he was with Jesus. About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”
60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.
I can’t imagine how Peter was feeling at this point, to have looked straight into the eyes of Jesus as the rooster crowed, having said he would endure hardship and even death to follow Jesus. After the crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus appears to the disciples by the Sea of Galilee. Sat around a fire and after eating the fish they had just caught Jesus turns to Peter and said
Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” John 21
Jesus, in asking Peter to affirm his love for Jesus 3 times, will have helped him move on without the burden of guilt and regret of denying Jesus 3 times before the crucifixion. In verse 18 Jesus was instructing Peter to go and “feed my sheep”, to look after the people who would become followers of Jesus and tend to their needs.
If like Peter you feel you have let down Jesus you can ask for forgiveness, receive his love, and move forward with walking with him, just open your heart and pray for forgiveness.
Jesus prayed for all the believers “Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me”.