The Need of Restoration

Written by Becky Perkins

Following the resurrection of Jesus, Jesus appeared to his disciples several times.  The third time Jesus appeared to his disciples, it was early in the morning.  Some of his disciples were fishing in the Sea of Galilee.  Peter was among the fishermen.  When Jesus called them to the shore, Jesus had prepared a breakfast for them.  The disciples did not question who Jesus was, because they had seen him several times since the resurrection.  When Jesus broke the bread and spoke to them, they knew exactly who He was. 


Peter had denied Jesus three times before Jesus’ arrest.  Now after this breakfast, Jesus offered Peter three questions.  “Do you love me more than these?” “Do you love me?” and again, “Do you love me?”  Peter answered with a definite “yes” each time.  Jesus then told Peter to “feed my lambs,” “tend my sheep,” and “feed my sheep.”  It is possible that Jesus was offering Peter restoration for his denial and for his pride of thinking he loved Jesus more than the other disciples.  Peter boasted in John 13:37 that he would lay down his life for Jesus.  In Matthew 26:33, Peter boasted that all other men would stumble because of Jesus, but Peter would never be made to stumble.  Peter was humbled after he denied Jesus three times. His heart had changed.   


In John 21, Jesus fed the disciples and tended to their physical needs.  Then Jesus went to work on their spiritual needs.  Jesus offered Peter restoration.  Peter sought forgiveness and repented for denying Jesus.  Jesus told Peter that he would not only be fishing for men in his future, but Peter would also be a shepherd of his people.  After Jesus restored Peter, He called him into a place of leadership, a position to shepherd people.  I guess you could say that Peter progressed on the Discipleship Pathway; he no longer was a believer following Jesus, but was now in position to lead.


Leading a group of people is hard work, it is a submissive work, and it is a humbling work.  Jesus must humble us to prepare us to lead.  I have personally experienced a humbling of my spirit through ministry.  When I become weary, tired, and have wrong thoughts toward others, it’s because I am trying to do the work within myself.  When I get angry with people, when things do not go the way I expect them to go, when God is not on my time frame, I know I am trying to do the work within myself.  Sometimes, God has to humble me and let me know that I am not the one in charge.  During those times, I have to stop and listen to His voice.  Sometimes, I have to let Him restore my soul before He can do the work through me.


The times of discipline that God puts me through are not fun, not easy, and can be heartbreaking.  When God convicts my spirit, I am weary and drained.  But there is always a restoration time after the hard times.  God does not convict us to punish to us, but to love us. Those times when God works on our hearts, whether dealing with jealousy, greed, unforgiveness, lust, covetousness, or other things down deep in our hearts, He is doing it out of His love for us.  God wants the best for us in His timing and in His way.  God shows us a beautiful restoration time.  Restoration may be just the awareness of His presence, the beauty of His world, or the beauty we find in scripture.  It is a cleansing of the soul and a peace that passes all understanding.  How does He do it?  I don’t know, but we can know, with confidence, that He was the One who performed the restoration.  It is after the restoration that we, as Peter, know the joy of God’s salvation.


“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit” (Psalm 51:10-12).