SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (EGW)

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Chapter 21

15-17. Peter Learned to Teach—There was Peter, who denied his Lord. After he had fallen and been converted, Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” Before Peter's feet slipped, he had not the spirit of meekness required to feed the lambs; but after he became sensible of his own weakness, he knew just how to teach the erring and fallen; he could come close to their side in tender sympathy, and could help them (Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 121). 5BC 1151.4

(Luke 22:31, 32.) Genuine Restoration Reaches the Roots—Peter never forgot the painful scene of his humiliation. He did not forget his denial of Christ, and think that, after all, it was not a very great sin. All was painfully real to the erring disciple. His sorrow for his sin was as intense as had been his denial. After his conversion, the old assertions were not made in the old spirit and manner.... 5BC 1151.5

Three times after His resurrection, Christ tested Peter. “Simon, son of Jonas,” He said, “lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” 5BC 1151.6

This heart-searching question was necessary in the case of Peter, and it is necessary in our case. The work of restoration can never be thorough unless the roots of evil are reached. Again and again the shoots have been clipped, while the root of bitterness has been left to spring up and defile many; but the very depth of the hidden evil must be reached, the moral senses must be judged, and judged again, in the light of the divine presence. The daily life will testify whether or not the work is genuine. 5BC 1152.1

When, the third time, Christ said to Peter, “Lovest thou me?” the probe reached the soul center. Self-judged, Peter fell upon the Rock, saying, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” 5BC 1152.2

This is the work before the every soul who has dishonored God, and grieved the heart of Christ, by a denial of truth and righteousness. If the tempted soul endures the trying process, and self does not awake to life to feel hurt and abused under the test, that probing knife reveals that the soul is indeed dead to self, but alive unto God. 5BC 1152.3

Some assert that if a soul stumbles and falls, he can never regain his position; but the case before us contradicts this. Before his denial Christ said to Peter, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” In committing to his stewardship the souls for whom He had given His life, Christ gave to Peter the strongest evidence of His confidence in his restoration. And he was commissioned to feed not only the sheep, but the lambs—a broader and more delicate work than had hitherto been appointed him. Not only was he to hold forth the word of life to others, but he was to be a shepherd of the flock (The Youth's Instructor, December 22, 1898). 5BC 1152.4

18, 19 (Matthew 19:28; 25:31; Romans 8:17; 1 Peter 4:13). A Transformed Peter—[John 21:18-22 quoted.] Peter was now humble enough to understand the words of Christ, and without further questioning, the once restless, boastful, self-confident disciple became subdued and contrite. He followed his Lord indeed—the Lord he had denied. The thought that Christ had not denied and rejected him was to Peter a light and comfort and blessing. He felt that he could be crucified from choice, but it must be with his head downward. And he who was so close a partaker of Christ's sufferings will also be a partaker of His glory when He shall “sit upon the throne of his glory” (The Youth's Instructor, December 22, 1898). 5BC 1152.5