I Have CALLED YOU by Name

Redemptive Love

I Have CALLED YOU by Name

Sunday, February 19th, 2023   


Read Psalm 8

How many of you have or are watching the Chosen series available now? 

This graphic and these slides are taken from this series and the man pictured is Peter. I love this series for so many reasons, but one of them is they do an excellent job bringing to life the personality of each person, so we can truly see them as the imperfect, flawed, normal human beings they are-just like you and me, called out by Jesus to be messengers of the Good News, to be messengers of the hope they came to know in Christ, their friend, teacher and Messiah. Just like you and I are called to be-messengers of the Good News of Jesus.

We know Peter was called to be a leader among the disciples, but growing into that strong leader took time and having to overcome many obstacles like speaking too quickly, acting rashly, hard headedness, and even overcoming guilt for his lack of faith and shortcomings. God knew the plans He had for Peter long before Peter was born; but Peter had to come to believe in these plans for his life and learn realizing them was a journey that would provide many opportunities to develop and manifest that leader within him. We are all on a journey in learning to overcome our own obstacles that keep us from stepping fully into the man and woman God has created us to be.

In this third season of the Chosen, Peter is struggling. I won’t share with what if you haven’t watched, but he’s angry, he’s questioning everything, except who Christ is. He never doubted who Jesus was and is as the Messiah. But here we see because of the hardships and battles God is allowing in Peter’s life, that are actually character developing to deepen Peter’s faith and grow his leadership ability, as it’s happening, it is leaving Peter to wonder, “was I a mistake?” Not a mistake as to his being alive, but did Jesus make a mistake in choosing him to be one of the twelve. Was there really a calling on his life?  

Peter was wandering, adrift, disengaged and lost his purpose in this time of struggle and questioning. That’s a horrible place to be- when you feel like you don’t belong; you feel don’t have purpose any longer; wondering did God make a mistake with you; will He give up on you? Will He leave you to wander lost and alone? 

Have you been there at some point? Feeling like Peter? 

Who are we that the Lord of all the earth should be mindful of any of us; that He would look on us with love and mercy in our helpless and hopeless condition? Yet that is exactly what He does; not because we deserve it; simply because that is who He is- our loving, merciful Savior, who comes to truly save us and redeem us. This is what Jesus did for Peter, in this moment. Peter was not a mistake to be chosen by Jesus and through this time of hardship and suffering, Jesus revealed the greater purpose and plan for Peter. It was powerful and necessary to build Peter’s faith.

This is what Jesus does for you and me, as we let Him mend our hearts. We can get so fixed on the pain and hardship we are in; that we shift our gaze from our Messiah who is still right beside us leading us on the path He has called us to all along. When we take our eyes of Jesus, we allow fear, doubt or anger to cause us to think this plan has been derailed and God isn’t working any more. That’s not true. God is always calling us to His plan for our lives. He hasn’t changed course; we can trust that. In His redemptive love, He will remind us of His calling and plans for our life when we forget or stop believing. 

Today we’re going to look at Peter again and another side of God’s redemptive love at work. This time we’re going back to the time when Jesus had resurrected from the grave and was first appearing to the disciples. It was incredible-Jesus was alive! All He had said prior to His death had come to pass and was now making sense! It was still hard to believe, but there He was! Amazing! 

And yet, in all this excitement Peter was hanging out in the background. He saw Jesus. He knew He truly was the Messiah; He knew it all along, when he searched his heart. But what was playing over and over in Peter’s mind was what happened right before Jesus died; what Peter did…it was crushing to carry the weight of his regret. Why would Jesus want anything to do with him again? Surely, he would be cast aside and his role given to someone else, with greater faith; someone who was a stronger leader; someone who didn’t deny knowing their Lord to save their own skin. 

If only I could go back and change what I did. If only I believed in what He told me would happen. Why didn’t I have faith enough to stand? Why did I deny knowing my Master? How could He ever forgive me? 

Poor Peter had a deep wound in his heart that only his Savior could heal. And that’s exactly what Jesus did. Let’s look at their exchange when Jesus appears to all of them a third time and see how our Lord chose to heal Peter’s heart and assure Peter he was in fact called by name and still had a great commission to fulfill. 

The scene is on the shore of a beach early in the morning. Peter and the disciples had just shared a breakfast that Jesus had cooked for them and they were in awe yet again, that Jesus was there among them.  Jesus uses this time to have a heart to heart with Peter. We’ll look at their exchange and then work through it. 

John 21: 15-19 

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 

18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him,                                                                                                                  

“Follow me!”

When Jesus is talking with Peter, we have to remember Peter had already been called by Him a few years ago when Jesus first was gathering His disciples. God doesn’t change His mind on a calling. It’s us who choose to set aside what He calls us to, or not believe. Once we are called, that call remains on our life, forever. Look at how Jesus called Peter. 

  • God Has Already Called You. 

John 1:42 Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter.)

Peter means rock or stone. So He was calling Peter to build His church on the firm foundation that He Himself would impart into Peter and the others. He would be a rock based on the relationship and closeness Peter would share with Jesus and through the Holy Spirit imparted to him.  He was calling Peter to be a strong and steady leader- a rock in his faith. 

Matthew 16:18 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

This is a prophecy- no matter what the enemy brings at you Peter, when you stay near Me, you will overcome. No matter what the enemy brings at My Church, it will remain standing and only grow stronger. So build Peter, for you are building My Kingdom here on earth! 

Luke 22: 31-32 31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

This is also a prophecy of what was to come-the very thing Peter was feeling deeply burdened with now. satan had indeed sifted and shaken Peter to his core. Jesus promised Peter-I have already prayed for you. That is good news for us too-because we read when Jesus is in the garden He prays for all believers-to stay strong in our faith. We will all be sifted by satan in this world but we must remember Jesus has prayed for us that our faith may not fail! He told Peter this and then he affirmed Peter’s calling by saying, when you have turned back-so that would mean Peter was going to fall away for a period of time, Jesus said strengthen your brothers. Be the rock I have called you to be-by drawing close to Me once more Peter-be strong in your faith and help others to be strong also.  

We have a promise to help us stand in our faith no matter how many times we stumble and fall short in our journey of walking with Christ: 

Isaiah 43:1 NLT But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.

We belong to God and Jesus paid the highest price for us. Nothing we can do, no short coming, no setback or failure will ever change that we have been ransomed by Christ and God will forever say, we are His. This is truth. 

But many times, like Peter, we have deep wounds of regret for our choices, lack of faith, and shortcomings that hinder our ability from continuing forth on the path God has for us. We become paralyzed or worse yet abandon it altogether-going back to something we were before knowing Jesus. We disengage from our relationship with Him. So we desperately need our Savior, we need our Healer, we need our Counselor and our Comforter to mend those wounds of regret. 

  • Jesus Mends the Wounds of Regret.  

Before Jesus died, Peter was overly confident that he out of all of the disciples would be with Jesus till the end, even unto death, This claim was in ignorance of how very real things were about to become, and how very frail Peter’s faith would be when facing the horrors of Jesus’ arrest and trial. In typical Peter form, he didn’t know what he was saying. He meant well, but that sifting was coming and it would drop Peter to his knees. 

Jesus revealed an ego deflating truth to Peter that he just couldn’t believe. 

Luke 22:34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

Mark 14: 66-72 NLT 66 Meanwhile, Peter was in the courtyard below. One of the servant girls who worked for the high priest came by 67 and noticed Peter warming himself at the fire. She looked at him closely and said, “You were one of those with Jesus of Nazareth.”

68 But Peter denied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and he went out into the entryway. Just then, a rooster crowed.

“This man is definitely one of them!” 70 But Peter denied it again. A little later some of the other bystanders confronted Peter and said, “You must be one of them, because you are a Galilean.”

71 Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” 72 And immediately the rooster crowed the second time.

Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he broke down and wept.

Heart wound. Terrible regret. Betrayal to his Master and friend. Peter was lost and felt he no longer belonged.

So coming back to the time Jesus resurrected, even after seeing Jesus appear twice, Peter reverted back to his old ways because he assumed there was no place for him as one of Jesus’ followers. He failed. He was weak. 

Have you done this at some point in your walk? You fell short; you made choices you wished you could take back and then decided well I blew it; I’m of no use any longer. Clearly I’m not a very good Christian…I might as well go back to what I was doing before. Who was I kidding? 

Why did Jesus meet the men on the shore? Because of what Peter chose to do the night before. 

John 21:3 I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

In His grace and compassion, Jesus met Peter where he was at and recreated the scene where his heart was wounded-by the fire where Peter was warming his hands and denied his Lord. 

Don’t miss the details of how Jesus set up this encounter. 

John 21: 9, 12  When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.  12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” 

This time the fire is an invitation for fellowship, to share a meal and to create a new experience for Peter to remember with His Savior and Lord with Him; with his friend who loves him. 

  • Jesus Restores and Commissions the Called. 

Jesus didn’t condemn Peter or shun him. He welcomed Peter with open arms into His presence, into relationship again and made certain Peter knew the call God had for him was still active and he was not a mistake; he was not being replaced and he absolutely had a key purpose in bringing about the Kingdom of God. 

But first Jesus had to heal Peter’s heart. So He created the fire that flashed over and over in Peter’s wounded heart and this time Jesus was right there with Peter at the fire. He asked Peter if Peter loved Jesus more than these-meaning the other disciples. To which Peter says yes of course Lord You know I love You. 

A couple things to note: Jesus doesn’t call him Peter here. He calls him his original name of Simon, Son of John. Peter was a name given Jesus would use when they were in relationship and that relationship had to be restored first. 

Also we only use one word for “love” in our English language, but Greek language has several words for different types of love. Jesus used the word “agape” in this first two questions to Peter, which means a sacrificial, unconditional love. Peter couldn’t answer with that because of what he did, so his answer was “phileo” which means a brotherly love.  Jesus changes his question the third time and meets Peter where he was at and asks “do you love Me with a brotherly love” and Peter said You know all things, You know I love you. Such grace and kindness shown. Such mercy given. 

Three times Jesus asked Peter because each confession from Peter was a healing balm applied to cover the wounds left from each of Peter’s denials. Each time Jesus was reinforcing the call that had been on Peter’s life all along. 

John 21: 17, 19  Feed My Sheep.   Follow Me! 

Then Jesus gave Peter the greatest invitation his heart desperately needed and wanted to hear: “Follow Me!” It was the same call from when they first met, and it was an affirmation of the prophecy from Isaiah, I have ransomed you. You are mine! 

Peter was not lost or forsaken. He was restored and commissioned to be the rock Jesus said he was. This encounter would replace that nightmare of a memory Peter had by the fire. Now he would remember the love His Savior had for him, to seek him out in his wandering, lost state, and to say you are still mine Peter. I still have use for you. Follow Me, stay in relationship with Me and do what I have shown you to do! 

This is what Jesus does for each of us as we let Him minister to our hearts. Know this today and hear with open ears, God has called YOU by name, you belong to Him, and He has a great plan for YOU that is still in motion. He has not changed course or given up on you. But if you are carrying the burden of regret around, I plead with you to let Him heal those wounds and restore you. This is part of your journey and part of your growth in Christ. 

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Conclusion:  Jesus will mend our wounded hearts and change our view from focusing on past regrets to the divine purpose we were created to carry out. His call doesn’t change; it’s our hearts that are transformed through His redemptive love as we come into the presence of our Healer.  

Let’s pray: 

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