It was the same thing that He had said at the very beginning.
And things had changed, He had changed the man's name early on, nicknaming him, calling him Rock instead of He Has Heard.
And Peter had followed Him for three years, everywhere He went, seeing Him do miracles and shine in glory and he confessed Him Christ, the anointed one.
Peter was always fast to talk, and it makes me wonder if his mother despaired at his name having to do with listening. Really.
He was fast to speak up till that last night, when he said, all offended? seriously? that he would never deny. Maybe everyone else would, and would run away, but he would not.
And then he did.
And saw Jesus and knew his sin and wept.
How do you recover from that?
Even if Jesus said you were forgiven, would you believe?
How about in the years to come, when He would no longer be there to run to, for Peter to look into His eyes again and reassure himself that the forgiveness was real?
So I read John 21, curious to see how He would restore and recover and redeem and reconcile. Because He is wiser than I am and I struggle with these things, so I want to learn from Him.
He asks for Peter's love, three times, and Peter is grieved. Once for each denial.
And He warns Peter of the future to come, the hardness in it, that it will not be any easier than the past. That the past was only training for what will come.
And then He says --
and this is what I noticed for the first time --
The same thing He said at the beginning, when they were still fishermen catching fish.
That has not changed.
Peter's world has changed entirely, turned upside down and inside out, and he will fail again in the future and be rebuked by Paul, and he will ask again in the next two minutes about John, wanting to know what will happen to him, but Jesus and His call are not changed by any of this, and never have been.
You follow me.
We did, as a group, as staff at a Christian camp, reading through all this in John. Talking about what it means and what it means for us.
And His call doesn't change for me now, now that I am back at home or when I go back to school or when I am graduated or wherever I go. Or when I deny Him by what I do and what I don't do, what I say and what I don't say. When I am stupid and argue over things that should not be argued over, when I hurt others and when I break myself beyond what I can repair.
His claim on me stays the same.
And it is good.