Beholding Jesus in His Amazing Grace, Session 12: “Jesus, Our MUCH MORE Restorer”


Beholding Jesus in His Amazing Grace, Session 12, “Jesus, Our MUCH MORE Restorer.” from Parresia on Vimeo.

When Jesus restores, He restores MUCH MORE than before! In the account of Peter’s restoration after his profoundly regretful denial of Jesus, we see the heart of our deeply personal God in Jesus’s rebuilding of Peter’s life on the foundation of His unconditional love. (see transcript of teaching below)

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Transcript of “Jesus, Our MUCH MORE Restorer”


Welcome to session 12 of Beholding Jesus in His Amazing Grace. This session is entitled, “Jesus, Our Much More Restorer” – this is continuation of “Jesus, Our Great Restorer.” And we will pick up where we left off with the story of Peter’s restoration in a minute.

After putting my notes together, I stepped back and asked myself, “What in this message makes my heart burn?” And the answer that immediately came to mind: My heart burns with His personal love for each of us and the extent to which He will go to to prove His love for us.

In this world that is filled with anger and hatred and violence, I often think about the identity of God: God is love. What other god in this world is identified as love? And how do we know what that looks like? Remember – when we behold Jesus, we are beholding God, the FAther. Let me remind you of a few scriptures:

John 14:9 – [Jesus said] “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”

Colossians 1:15 – He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God,…

Hebrews 1:3, NASB – He [Jesus] is the radiance of His [God] glory and the exact representation of His nature

John 5:19 –  [Jesus said] “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” 

When I began this series I said: When we behold Jesus, He becomes our “study of God.” He’s our theology.  He is our knowledge of the glory of God.

John 1:18  in The Amplified says –

John 1:18, AMPC – He [Jesus] has declared Him [God] [He [Jesus] has revealed Him [God] and brought Him out where He can be seen; He [Jesus] has interpreted Him [God] and He has made Him [God] known].

But to so many people, the true heart and nature of God and the Good News of His extravagant love and grace is veiled.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4, 6 – But even if our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing whose minds the god of this age [satan] has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light [the revelation] of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

The enemy has blinded people so that they cannot see the Good News of the “glory of Christ.” What is the “glory of Christ”? It’s the truth that Jesus is the full manifestation of God’s glory. He is the very person and presence of God in flesh and blood.

When we unveil Jesus in His extravagant love which was manifested both in His life on earth and in His death at the cross, we are unveiling the heart of the Father.

That is the light that the enemy does not want shining in people’s hearts.

2 Corinthians 4:6 – [But it is God who COMMANDS that] For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light [the revelation] of the knowledge of the glory of God [The goodness of God in the widest sense – Where?] in the face of Jesus Christ.

If we want to know God, We must look at Jesus – how He loved people, what angered Him – and it wasn’t sinners – it was the hypocrisy of the religious and their lack of love. That’s what angered Jesus because that’s what angers God.

We have to look at how Jesus loved sinners like

  • the outcast woman at the well (who had 5 husbands and was living with the 6th man),
  • the woman with the alabaster box, (who was a notoriously wicked woman)
  • the woman caught in adultery (who was condemned to death by the Pharisees) 
  • Mary Magdalene, (who had 7 seven demons)
  • Zacchaeus and Matthew (who were tax collectors whom everyone hated!) 

we must see at how Jesus treated those people in order to understand what God is like.

And through these accounts of Jesus, we learn that God is not far away in heaven, Immanuel is right here – today by His Spirit, and He is a very personal God who desires to restore people to wholeness.

So let’s take a look at how Jesus restored Peter to see what God is like.

Peter’s private meeting with Jesus

On the night that Jesus was betrayed, He predicted Peter’s denial of Him, in spite of Peter’s declarations that he would never leave Him.

Luke 22:31-32 – [Jesus said to him – ] “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, [A better translation would the KJV be “satan has desired to HAVE you.” The definition is strong – “to beg that one be given to the power of another; to demand for torture or punishment” – satan has demanded ] that he may sift you [Peter] as wheat. 

Satan  wanted to winnow Peter away from Jesus and separate him from Jesus.

Luke 22:32 – [But Jesus said to Peter – ] But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when [not IF] you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” [The devil would not prevail because Jesus prophesied Peter’s victory before he ever failed.]

The same goes for us. Jesus has prayed for us, and the devil will not prevail against us. Jesus has already prophesied our victory – not just victory over our failures, but also persecution or sickness or family problems or financial issues.

God knows we are all being sifted, but a Great Restoration is coming for every one of us in the areas where the enemy has stolen from us. And our  restoration will be better than anything we could have imagined. 

To begin to look at Jesus’s restoration of Peter, we’ll start with another look at resurrection day.

In John 20, verse 2, we see that Mary Magdalene specifically went to Peter and John to tell them that Jesus had risen from the dead.

John 20:2 – Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved…

In Mark’s gospel, we see why Mary Magdalene went to Peter specifically. The angel in the tomb, a messenger sent from God, had mentioned Peter by name:  

Mark 16:7 – “But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He [Jesus] is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”

I’m sure that Peter never thought he would see Jesus again. You recall his deeply painful last moment with Jesus:

Luke 22:60-62, NLT – And immediately, while he [Peter] was still speaking, [in the act of denying Jesus] the rooster crowed. 61 At that moment the Lord [Jesus] turned and looked at Peter. [Not with eyes of condemnation, but of unconditional love and grief – grief for the pain Peter had inflicted upon himself] Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” 62 And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.

I wonder, when Mary Magdalene found Peter and told him that Jesus was alive, if his emotions were all over the place: joy that it might be true, but also fear that it might be true and that Jesus would never accept him again.

Now, in Luke’s gospel we have a record of a meeting that Jesus had with Peter on resurrection day that is not recorded in any other gospel:

Luke 24:32-34 – [the two who had been on the Road to Emmaus when Jesus appeared to them- ] And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He [Jesus] talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”

We know so much about Mary Magdalene’s personal meeting with Jesus on that day, and we have great detail of Jesus’s 7 mile walk with Cleopas and his companion on the Road to Emmaus, but we have no details about the private conversation that Jesus had with Peter on that day except that it happened.

This meeting was so significant, though, that Paul even mentioned it in his chronology of resurrection day in 1 Corinthians 15: 

1 Corinthians 15:3-5 – …Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas,… [Remember “Cephas” is Aramaic for Peter. Jesus was seen by Peter before He was seen by the other disciples.]

I believe in this private meeting Jesus assured him of His forgiveness and the truth that no sin could possibly cut Peter off from His love.

I envision that this meeting included a hug – a big hug from Jesus – the kind that Jesus described in Luke 15:20 when the prodigal came home. Here’s my composite of Luke 15:20 from several Bible versions but replacing the prodigal with Peter and the father with Jesus = 

Luke 15:20, tricia’s composite – “And Peter got up and returned to Jesus. But when Peter was still a great way off, Jesus looked off in the distance and saw Peter returning. Great compassion swelled up in Jesus’ heart. He was moved with pity and tenderness for Peter, and Jesus raced out to meet him. Jesus fell on Peter’s neck, enfolded him in an embrace, swept Peter up in his arms, hugged him dearly, and kissed him fervently, over and over with tender love.”

John 21 and the great catch of fish

So let’s look at John 21 and see the rest of the story of Peter’s restoration. 

John 21:1 – After these things [in the context, this was after Jesus showed Himself to Thomas and the others – ] Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples [He manifested Himself – revealed Himself] at the Sea of Tiberias and in this way He showed Himself: [in what way would Jesus manifest Himself now that He is RESURRECTED and GLORIFIED?]

Would He be the same Jesus who –

  • walked daily with His disciples?
  • is He the same Jesus who gathered the children in His arms?
  • and ate with sinners?
  • and visited good friends like Mary, Martha, and Lazarus?

Does He still care about the little people and their problems?  We’ll see. 

On this day, seven of His disciples went fishing. And in verse 3 of John 21 – 

John 21:2-3 – Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.”

Here’s Peter, the natural born leader – because that’s who God had made him to be. Jesus had big plans for Peter, and Nothing could stop what was coming in Peter’s life.   Verse 3  continued- 

John 21:4-11 – They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. [We’ve heard that story before, right? In Luke 5 when Peter was first called.] 4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them “Children, [paidion, a term of endearment] have you any food?”  [Do you remember that He asked that question before? It was when He appeared to Thomas and the disciples 8 days after the resurrection. He was proving that His resurrected body was a real body that could eat food, and they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. (Luke 24:41) But on this day, He is going to feed them.] They answered Him, “No.” [No fish! These experienced fishermen who knew every nook and cranny of that lake had been fishing all night and caught nothing] 6 And He [Jesus] said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” [Every detail is important. The right side in the scriptures represents the righteousness and authority of God, and since Jesus is seated at the right hand of God on the throne of grace from which all blessings flow, I believe this miraculous catch of fish is a symbol of the unlimited supply of the super-abundance of God’s grace that flows from heaven and is commanded into our “nets.”] 7 So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. [Seven strong men – strong experienced fishermen who had been doing this for years couldn’t pull the net into the boat.] Therefore [John] that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” [John is the one of the seven who first recognized Jesus – the most devoted confidant of Jesus, the one who leaned on His Master’s breast at their final supper together, the one who at the foot of the cross was chosen to take Mary, the mother of Jesus into his home as a member of his own family, John – the one who knew he was loved had the first instinct that it was Jesus.] Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. [This is just like Peter, isn’t it? John was the first to recognize Jesus, but Peter was the first to act – not out of impulse, but out of love – a love that made him IMPATIENT to reach Jesus. After his private meeting with Jesus, he had NO HESITATION. He had NO RESERVATIONS about racing to Jesus – leaving behind the boat dragging a full net of fish like the Samaritan woman left her waterpot and completely forgot about it!] 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits [the length of a football field], dragging the net with fish. 9 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, [I can’t help but think of the ONLY other place in the Bible where you see “a fire of coals” – it was on the early morning of Peter’s denial when he warmed himself by the “fire of coals” and denied Jesus to a servant girl (John 18:18) Back to verse 8 – “they saw a fire of coals there,” – ] and fish laid on it, and bread. [Jesus was cooking for them. Isn’t that beautiful – resurrected and glorified, still serving – He’s our Forever Servant. He’s serving fish – but the fish that Jesus was cooking for them were not the same as the “large fish” that they caught. These were small fish – something like anchovies – and they happened to be the same small fish that Jesus fed to the 5000 – a kind of fish that was eaten with bread and used like a condiment or a relish. So He’s feeding them the same meal that He fed the 5000 – bread and fish – the endless supply. Crowned in glory and honor and power, still so lowly and humble – meeting the basic needs of His beloved.] 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.” 11 Simon Peter [all by himself] went up and dragged the net to land, [that the other six men couldn’t pull into a boat. One man in the presence of the RESURRECTED Jesus had a seven-fold power. And the net was  – ] full of large fish, [How many? Exactly -] one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. [There was a time in Luke 5 where they fished all night and caught nothing, but when Jesus said to launch out into the deep, Peter caught such a large number of fish that the NET WAS BROKEN. Peter’s response: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” But this time in the presence of the RESURRECTED Jesus, the NET DID NOT BREAK. This is a picture of the FINISHED WORK of Jesus – the net is our life that will NEVER BREAK for we are sons of God who have unlimited capacity to receive the superabundance of God’s grace.]

The Greek word for large fish is “ichthys.” [ikh-thoos’] Of course, you’ve heard that word before, right? It became a Christian symbol in the first century after these two massive catches of fish.

The early Christians made an acrostic from the Greek letters in this word, “ichthys,” which in English is translated, “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.”

153 and 17 

Why did Jesus command 153 fish to swim into that net? No detail in the Bible is insignificant.

There are many opinions about what 153 means. Here is the briefest list I can give you without much detail:

  • Some scholars think that the number 153 is utterly insignificant, and was only meant to describe a large number of fish. I think that’s the most far-fetched opinion of them all.
  • There are Rabbis who believe that 153 in Hebrew means “I am the Lord Your God,” and that this would be a confirmation of Jesus’s identity to His Hebrew disciples. They say that because Hebrew is an alphanumeric language with letters that correspond to pictures and numbers that correspond to words and meanings that the number 153 translates to “I am the Lord Your God.”
  • There is also school of thought that 153 would have been a message to the Greeks in Ephesus where John lived when he wrote this Gospel. The Greeks  valued man’s wisdom and philosophy above anything else. One of their most famous mathematicians, Archimedes, who lived a couple of hundred years before Jesus, was known for his work on a new method for calculating Pi, which consisted of 10 equations, the first 9 of which all ended in the number 153. So perhaps Jesus was communicating to the Greeks that He is the source of all wisdom. 
  • Another school of thought is that 153 is just generally symbolic of the great end time harvest of all nations and people – a picture of fishers of men catching a harvest of souls.

We can all agree that only the God of creation could perform such a miracle. The book of John ends in John 21 with this miracle where it began in John 1 – pointing to Jesus as the all-powerful Creator. 

John 1:3 – All things were made through Him [Jesus], and without Him nothing was made that was made.

The mathematics of 153

But if you will allow me, I would like to belabor the point of Jesus commanding exactly 153 fish into the net from a strictly mathematical perspective. 

I love numbers and I love math – in fact, I taught Algebra and Geometry years ago. And God really speaks to me in numbers – not always in a symbolic way – like 5 being the number of grace, 6 being the number of man, 7 the number of perfection, and 8 being the number of new creation and so forth – but just the way numbers work.

When I see see a collection of facts and patterns that are statistically impossible, I just can’t help but see Jesus our Creator in it. And often I see symbolism in the math itself.

For instance – 153 is the smallest number which can be expressed as the sum of the cubes of its digits: 13 + 53 + 33 = 1 + 125 + 9 = 153 

This is my take on that: Cubes are 3-dimensional. I believe that this 153 fish is just a drop in the bucket –  the smallest number – for what the disciples would experience after Pentecost, When the 4th dimension of heaven would fill them and transform their 3-dimensional lives into heaven’s representatives on earth.

John 16:7 – [Jesus said -] “It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.”

John 14:12 – “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, [why?] because I go to My Father.

Here are some more rare facts about 153:

The sum of digits of 153 is a perfect square: 1 + 5 + 3 = 9

153 also called a Harshad number (or a Niven number), meaning it is divisible by the sum of its own digits, and it is the 50th Harshad number. Which always brings to my mind Pentecost which was 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection.

And if we divide 153 by the sum of its digits, I believe not coincidentally, we get the number 17 – the number of victory in the Bible.

And not coincidentally 153 is the 17th triangular number. What is a triangular number? Well, if we Add 1+2+3+4… all the way to 17., we get 153.  Jesus commanded 153 fish to swim into that net, and there are 17 rows in this triangular expression of 153, which stacked up points straight to heaven and the one true God, Jesus Christ.

In the Bible, 17 is the number of victory. In Session 9, I spoke about the day the Ark rested on Ararat on the 17th day of the month which would be the same day as the feast of First Fruits on the 17th day of the first month about 900 years later which would be the same day that Jesus rose from the dead about 1500 years later – all of these events point to resurrection and the victory Jesus won for us over sin and death.

And there were other important events in the scriptures on the 17th day of the first month that also point to our resurrection, victory, and new life in Jesus. 

  • On 17th day of the first month, Moses led the Israelites to victory through the Red Sea, which was a picture of the death to our old life – the old nature (with the drowning of the Egyptians who represent the flesh) and the resurrection of our new life in Jesus as a new creation. (Exodus 3:18; 5:3)
  • Also – The manna which had fed God’s people for the 40 years in the wilderness stopped after the 16th day of the first month, and on the 17th day they feasted on the first fruit of the Promised Land. This again is a picture of the finished work of Jesus and new life that came on the 17th! 
  • And it was on the 17th day of the first month that Queen Esther was used by God to save God’s people from elimination. The tables were turned on the enemy, and instead of God’s beloved children being destroyed, the enemy was destroyed! A picture of Jesus defeated the enemy at the cross.

17 is truly the number of victory in the Bible. Did you know that in Psalm 83, the 17 enemies of God listed? You can read the list of nations in Psalms for yourself. 

They all represent demonic forces that were defeated at the cross. Our enemies are not flesh and blood. They are the spiritual forces of darkness and wickedness in the heavenly places.

Psalm 83:4-11, 18, NIV – “Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation, so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.” 5 With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you— the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, of Moab and the Hagrites, Byblos, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia, with the people of Tyre. 8 Even Assyria has joined them to reinforce Lot’s descendants. 9 Do to them as you did to Midian, as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon, 10 who perished at Endor and became like dung on the ground. 11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna”… 18 Let them know that you, whose name is the Lord—that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.

I looked up every one of those 17 enemies listed Psalm 83, and researched their gods and what they stood for, and here’s the list that I came up with: 

  • sexual immorality,   prostitution,   greed,   idolatry,   witchcraft,   war,   brutality,   cruel oppression,   removal of protection,   victimization,   murder,   human sacrifice,   pride,   persecution,   painful toil and worrisome labor,   self-inflicted injury,   child sacrifice,  the murder of children  (abortion),   the destruction of the younger generations,   being led astray and wandering from God. 

We and our families have been delivered from every one of those demonic forces. And whatever participation we may have had with the forces of darkness, Jesus has delivered us and will continue to deliver us. Why? Because nothing can separate us from Him.

Which leads to my favorite 17 in the Bible:  the 17 things listed in Romans 8 that cannot separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:35, 38-39 – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [Notice the word “Who,” not “what”. Why is this? Because it’s a “who” – the enemy – who attempts to sift and separate us from God by these 17 things – ] Shall tribulation [1], or distress [2], or persecution [3], or famine [4], or nakedness [5 – Nakedness speaks of shame. SHAME cannot separate us from the love of Jesus. His nakedness the cross says to us: “I became sin that you might become the righteousness of God in Me.”], or peril [6], or sword [7]?… 38 For I am persuaded that neither death [8] nor life [9], nor angels [10] nor principalities [11] nor powers [12 – none of the powers of the universe or governments or abusers or anyone can separate us from Jesus], nor things present [13] nor things to come [14 – not even the sins you will commit in the future.], 39 nor height [15] nor depth [16], nor any other created thing [17 – even the devil cannot separate you from! He’s a created being!], shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Amen!]

That 153 fish was like a big heavenly neon sign from Jesus – especially to Peter – “NOTHING CAN SEPARATE YOU FROM MY LOVE!!!”

Jesus restores Peter

John 21:12-14 – [Ok. Let’s finish John 21 -] Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing [eidō – to see with eyes, to turn the eyes upon and perceive and understand; to experience] that it was the Lord. [Because of the exactly 153 catch of fish!] 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish. 14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. 

Once again Jesus is opening eyes and revealing Himself as He is giving of bread – a picture of His body – as in the feeding of the 5000, and the feeding of the 4000, and the last supper, and with the two on the road to Emmaus. 

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has not stopped revealing Himself to us. Whenever we take the Lord’s Supper, and we eat the bread, we are remembering that through the Great Exchange of His broken body given for us, we have an endless supply of abundant life. 

Back to John 21 – I’m going to switch to the Kenneth Wuest expanded translation because it so beautifully portrays the words of Jesus from the Greek as He publicly restores Peter. [Kenneth Wuest –  1893 – 1961, one of the translators of the NASB]

John 21:15-17, Wuest – When they had breakfasted, Jesus says to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonas, do you have a love for Me [agapaō – what is that? It’s a love] called out of your heart by My preciousness to you, a devotional love that impels you to sacrifice yourself for Me? Do you consider Me more precious and thus love Me more than these [disciples]?” [Once Peter had boasted that he loved Jesus more than anyone, and even if everyone else left Jesus, he wouldn’t. Now Peter answers in humility by appealing to Jesus’s omniscience of his love – which was not agapaō, but phileō -] Peter said to Him, “Yes, Lord, You know positively that I have an emotional fondness for You.” [phileō – I only love you like a brother.] He [Jesus] says to him [Peter], “be feeding My little lambs.” [This is pure grace! An undeserved re-commissioning not only as fisher of men and catcher of men – an evangelist – to being a teacher – to feed His word to His little lambs – the weak and feeble among the flock, the young believers.] 16 He says to him [Jesus says to Peter] again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonas, do you have a devotional love for Me [agapaō] called out of your heart by My preciousness to you, a love that impels you to sacrifice yourself for Me?” He says to Him [Peter says to Jesus], “Yes, Lord, as for You, You know positively that I have a friendly feeling for You.” [phileō – I only love you like a brother.] He says to him [Jesus says to Peter], “Be shepherding My sheep.” [Now it’s grace upon grace – shepherding is “poimainō” – to tend to and keep the flock and to guide and oversee them. Jesus is calling Peter to pastor the body of Christ] 17 He says to him [Jesus says to Peter] a third time, “Simon, son of Jonas, do you have a friendly feeling and affection for Me?” [Now Jesus uses the word “phileō,” not agapaō] Peter was grieved that He [Jesus] had said to him [Peter] a third time, “Do you have a friendly feeling and affection for Me?” [Why three times? Because just a few days before, early in another morning, Peter had denied Jesus three times. Now early on this morning, Jesus is restoring him so every time he hears a rooster crowing, or when he sees a “fire of coals,” he will no longer remember his failure, but rather Jesus’s GRACE upon GRACE upon GRACE with this THREE-FOLD re-commissioning.] And he [Peter] said to Him [Jesus], “Lord, as for You, all things You know positively. You know from experience that I have a friendly feeling for You.” [Peter, who once boasted in his love for Jesus, has learned the lesson that it’s not HIS love for the Lord. It is the Lord’s love for him.] Jesus said to him, ‘Be feeding My sheep.”

John 21:18-19 – [Back to John 21 in the NKJV – ] “Most assuredly, I say to you, [Peter] when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, [on a cross and they say upside-down] and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” [This was clearly a reference to the martyrdom of Peter would experience in Rome one day] 19 This He [Jesus] spoke, signifying by what death he [Peter] would glorify God. And when He [Jesus] had spoken this, He said to him [Peter], “Follow Me.”

10 days after Jesus ascended to heaven, He poured out His Spirit upon Peter and the other 119 who were waiting at Jesus’s command. in the upper room.

The man who had once been a chicken and intimidated by a servant girl, preached on the day of Pentecost with great parresia, and 3000 people were saved.

Later he seized the right hand of the lame beggar and lifted him to his feet. Why? Because Peter knew what he had, and he knew how to give it away. He was imprisoned for it, but when he was released, he boldly declared:

Acts 4:19-20 – “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

There was so much grace on Peter’s life that his shadow healed people:

Acts 5:14-16, NASB – And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, 15 to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. 16 Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.

Peter preached to the first Gentile believers in Cornelius’ home. And there are many more stories of Peter’s influence and his destiny fulfilled. He truly became the name that Jesus called him: “You will be called ‘Peter’” (rock) because his life was restored and re-built on the Rock of Jesus Christ.

Philemon and Onesimus

Now I want to end this message with a few words about how we can restore others. The bottom line is this: As Jesus is, so are we in this world. 

I want to share with you the story of Onesimus. Have you ever heard of him? He was a man about whom Paul wrote to his friend Philemon.  

Philemon 15-16, The Message – Maybe it’s all for the best that you lost him [Onesimus] for a while. You’re getting him back now for good—and no mere slave this time, but a true Christian brother! 

Paul wrote this letter to his friend Philemon to basically beg him to receive a young man named Onesimus back into his life – a man who had wronged him.   Onesimus had been Philemon’s servant, but had stolen from him, and then had run away.

Paul wanted Philemon to receive him back – not as a servant this time, but as a brother in Christ. Somehow this young man Onesimus had gotten connected with Paul, while Paul was in prison hundreds of miles away, and Paul had led Onesimus to Jesus. You can’t make it up. God wins with any hand!

Philemon 10-12, NLT – [Paul wrote – ] I appeal to you [Philemon] to show kindness to my child, Onesimus. I became his father in the faith while here in prison. [That verse structure literally is “my own child, whom I have begotten in my bonds, Onesimus.” The name Onesimus at the end – as one commentary said “keeping the reader in suspense” – the name withheld til the end of the sentence to prepare Philemon for hearing it by first calling Onesimus his own son in the faith and communicating Paul’s tender affection for Onesimus -] 11 Onesimus hasn’t been of much use to you in the past, but now he is very useful to both of us. 12 I am sending him back to you, and with him comes my own heart.

Now I want you to think of Paul as representing Jesus who does not condemn, has not condemned, and will never condemn.

Think of Philemon as yourself. And Onesimus as representing someone in your life who needs restoration. When they are ready to return, Jesus wants you to welcome that one with open arms.

Philemon 15-18, NLT – It seems you lost Onesimus for a little while so that you could have him back forever. [“So that” Sometimes lose someone so we can have them back forever.] 16 He is no longer like a slave to you. He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me. [This one who got off track is ESPECIALLY beloved to Jesus. Isn’t that beautiful?] Now he will mean much more to you, both as a man [in his natural life] and as a brother in the Lord. [In his spiritual life. When Jesus restores, He restores our natural lives as a result of restoring our spiritual lives -and the restoration is MUCH MORE than before. When we welcome back those whom Jesus has restored, they will mean MUCH MORE to us than ever before. That’s why I called this message “Jesus, Our MUCH MORE Restorer!” Now imagine Jesus says to you -] 17 So if you consider me your partner, welcome him [my beloved – the one who failed you. How? – ] as you would welcome me. 18 If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge it to me. 

Imagine that this one who had failed terribly and then run away, somehow encountered Jesus on his journey, and Jesus rescued him and saved him. And now Jesus is sending him back to you – but the offender still owes you, and we still have a sense of the debt that they owe us for what they did to us.

Jesus is saying, “With this restored one, comes My very own heart. Receive My beloved back, not as a sinner – not as a slave to sin, but as one who has been washed clean – a son of God. Treat him the same way you would treat Me – raised and seated in heavenly places.

Treat him as deserving of all the goodness and blessing of God. Treat him as royalty. And if he owes you anything, put it to My account.

All of his sins were charged to Me. All of his guilt and iniquities were laid upon Me. If you will only welcome him back, I promise I will repay you – more than you can imagine. Trust me. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by welcoming this beloved son as if you were welcoming Me.”

Isn’t that beautiful? That’s how Jesus restored Peter – and he became much more as a man and a brother after he was restored. And that’s how Jesus restores us. And that’s how we restore each other. Amen?

Copyright info: All scriptures in the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.

  • (NKJV) New King James Version. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.
  • (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
  • (NLT) Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
  • (NASB) Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (
  • (KJV) King James Version. Public Domain
Parresia Ministries

Parresia Ministries

Parresia [pär-rā-sē'-ä]: a Greek word that means "boldness." Boldness before God to receive... Boldness before men to share... His scandalous grace with others! To read more about Parresia and the founder, Tricia Gunn, click here.