In 1991, Derek Redmond was a member of the 400 meter relay team at the Olympics. He had a sizzling start, but suddenly, he tore his right hamstring. With piercing pain, he began to hobble forward. His father rushed to his side to say, “Derek, you don’t have to do this.” Derek said, “Yes, I do.” Then his father said, “We’ll do it together.” So they both hobbled to the finish line as people applauded wildly. Like Derek, Jesus’ disciple Peter stumbled when he denied his Lord three times. But Jesus wanted to assure him that a failure does not have to be final. So we read in John 21 that Jesus met him and six other disciples on the beach. They had fished all night and caught nothing. So Jesus, called to them from the shore, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?” “No,” they replied. Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they could not haul in the net filled with fish—153! This miracle set the stage for Jesus to ask Peter this critical question three times, “Simon, Son of John, Do you love me?” “Yes,” Peter replied. Then Jesus said, “Feed my lambs, Feed my sheep.” Despite Peter’s failure, Jesus did not abandon him. Like Peter, we stumble but it need not mean failure, if we like Peter, confess our failure, and decide to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
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