Resurrection for the Broken Hearted

Text: John 21:15-19
Location: Park Community Church South Loop
Date: Sunday April 9, 2023


I’ll never forget a moment for me, years ago in college. Long before I had any inkling that I would end up being a Pastor. I was a new Christian, and frankly I was a mess. There was so much sin in my life. But there was also a mustard seed of faith, and God was honoring his promise to care for that mustard seed. I was part of a group of guys that were meeting regularly to study the Bible and I felt so small next to these guys that seemed like they knew everything there was to know about the Bible. After one night I recall saying, “I feel like a fake, like a phony. I know I’ve got one foot in and one foot out. I feel like Christ wants me all in, and I just can’t take the leap.”

Have you ever felt like that? Maybe you’re in here today and as you honestly assess you faith in Jesus, you feel like you just don’t live up to the expectations. Oh—I’ve got good news for you today!

Today is Easter Sunday. While every week a this Church, we talk about the resurrection of Christ, on this one day each year we celebrate it very directly. We linger on the topic just a bit longer and seek to apply it to our lives. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead declares at least three things.

1. Verifies Everything Jesus Said & Taught. He is King: Consider this, if Jesus truly did rise from the dead, in actual space and time, that verifies everything he ever said and taught. If he didn’t defeat death like he said he was, than he was just a liar who claimed to be God in the flesh. But if he did, we ough to listen to him and take his words seriously.

2. Guarantees Our Future Resurrection if our faith is in Christ: Secondly, if Christ has been raised from the dead, then his promise that all those who place their faith in him will be raised from the dead must be true. Christ’s defeat of death declares Heaven is open for business. Our Savior has accomplished his work.

3. Permits Us to Live in the New Resurrected Life Here & Now: Third, if Christ has been raised from the dead, than the resurrected life that Christ spoke about, the life that is truly life, is available to us now. 

To think about these things, we are going to return to the Apostle Peter and an encounter he had with Jesus shortly after his resurrection.  If you were with us on Good Friday, you may recall that on the night when Jesus was arrested, and stood trial, Peter was so scared of what might happen to him, that he outright denied Jesus, cursed him publicly, in order to save his own skin. If you’ve ever felt like I did in college, like I was a let-down, not living up to what Christ wanted of me, you can relate to Peter’s failings. After Jesus rose from the grave, he took a tender moment to speak to Peter. Let’s read it.

John 21:15-19 “15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”” 


Three times Peter had denied Christ. And in this scene three times Christ confronts Peter. The entire scene, at a minimum, is a reinstatement of Peter after his moment of weakness. But I think it is something much more than that as well. Jesus way of speaking right to the depths of this man, in the core of Peter’s heart, right down into his deepest wounds and darkest insecurities. He’s healing this man. He’s speaking into his most hidden insecurities and saying, the resurrection is bigger than your weakness.

The question Jesus asks is direct and short. “Do you love me more than these?” I imagine he caught Peter a bit by surprise. The text says they had just finished breakfast. But this first question is asking, “Peter, do you love me more than these other apostle’s love me.” Peter replies, “Yes Lord; you know that I love you.” Why would Jesus ask that question? It is because before Peter had denied Christ, it had been Peter that had stood up boldly in front of the other disciples and said,

Matthew 26:33 “33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.”” 

There was this chasm that existed between who Peter wanted to be, and who he was. He was far weaker than he cared to admit. And, Peter may have not even realized it, but this was causing a wound in his life that needed healing.

But then Jesus adds this phrase, “Feed my lambs.” Lambs were the most delicate of a sheepfold. They were the ones that needed the most tender care and wise shepherding. Jesus is of course referencing his Church, of which earlier in John 10 he has stated that Jesus is the chief shephered and we as Christians are his sheep. He looks to Peter and he says, “I trust with the weakest of my flock, the little lambs.”

Then a second time, Jesus moves closer.

John 21:16 “16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”” 

At this point Peter’s heart is pounding. I imagine tears are welling in his eyes, perhaps not even understanding the fullness of what Jesus is doing, but knowing that something important is being tapped into in his heart.

Then a third time, Jesus comes up close.

John 21:17 “17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” 

Notice, after this third time, we are told that Peter was grieved. This does not imply that he was annoyed or he was frustrated by Jesus. No, Peter was experiencing an undoing of the soul. That third repetition of the question was beating on Peter like a drum. Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love? And on the third beat, the dam broke. Peter was grieved as he was laid bare before his resurrected King. Jesus says, “Feed my sheep.

Jesus takes a man who was wounded, riddled with insecurities, and spoke life into him. This is what Jesus does. If you’re listening please here this. Jesus heals. The resurrection, when you by faith hold your life open to God, and let Christ fully in, he does this work. Men—let me speak to you for a moment. Women tend to be better at this than us. But look here at Peter. This was a rough and tough fisherman, this was a man’s man. What did this man’s man need? He need Jesus to heal hte wounds that were hindering his life.

Many in this room have never experienced Jesus ability to break the dam of your heart. But I’m telling you, until Christ breaks the dam, you don’t know Christ as you ought. Too many in America today believe that being a Christian is simply a set of religious rules to obey and rituals to partake in. Christianity becomes the great bore. No, Christ has come that we might have life to the full! And notice—Christ must move first. Christ came to Peter. You cannot manufacture this. Christ will move to you, and when he moves to you, He will free you!

See how incredible this is. It is in that precise moment, when Christ exposes us and lays us bare before the throne of grace, that the dam breaks and the floodwaters of our soul are released. “Feed My Sheep.” Peter is not only forgiven in full, he given the keys to the kingdom, commissioned by Christ Himself for vital Kingdom Work. Jesus takes a guy who had just failed Him in His most desparate hour of need, and he forgives him, and commissions him with the most precious and important responsibilities. We would never do this. If someone just betrayed you, you might forgive them but you wouldn’t entrust your kids to them. But this is what Christ does for each of us. “Feed my Lambs.” 

Hear these words Church—Christ doesn’t only want to give you a get out of hell free card—He has commissioned you! He’s all in on you!

This is how it works. The resurrection declares that Jesus is Lord. He is Lord. Whether we choose to believe it or not, Jesus is Lord. He is ruling and reigning right now. He needs nothing from us, because He is God. He holds your soul as I speak right now. “He sustains the universe by the word of his power.” That means that atoms move only by his decree. That God has invited you into a relationship. But not just any kind of relationship, a relationship with the one who made your soul. A relationship with the one before whom we will ultimately give an account for our life. The cost—to make that relationship possible—was the death of Christ. The bloody horror of crucifixion, where the God-man Christ Jesus was slain for the sins of the world. And if you believe in Christ, and turn from your sins, and trust Him—he wants to begin this work in you the way he did in Peter. He wants to apply the resurrection so deep into your life, that it changes you from the inside out.

You see, coward Peter was never the same. The end of our text today tells about the kind of courage that Jesus was instilling in Peter. He would ultimately be crucified upside down out of faith and courage for Christ.


Permit me to close by asking a question. Can you relate at all, to how I described myself at the beginning of this message. Or perhaps can your relate to Peter, feeling like when it comes to faith, you’re second rate. This Easter—Let Christ In. Here’s how to do this, it’s not hard. First you must repent of sin. Because sin just festers and slows you down. That doesn’t mean you become perfect, but there must be a true turning from sin as Jesus commanded. And then you believe in Jesus. You pray to him, “Jesus I believe you died on a cross for me. I don’t have all the answers, but I have a mustard seed of faith.” And if you’re willing today to let Jesus truly transform you, you can say this prayer, “Jesus—reveal to me what I’ve been holding onto that is not of you. And cast it out of me. I want to desire what you desire.” If you pray that prayer today, even if you begin praying that prayer today, and fervently seek God, he will honor your request. He will heal you in ways you did not know were possible. And he’ll comission you with sacred responsibilities.


Leave a Reply

Good Friday & The Modern Pursuit of a Savior

Good Friday & The Modern Pursuit of a Savior

Years ago I recall a conversation I had with a friend of mine

The Supremacy of Biblical Love

The Supremacy of Biblical Love

Text: 1 Corinthians 13Location: Park Community Church South LoopDate: Sunday

You May Also Like
%d bloggers like this: