It’s nice to have someone make you breakfast; one of those little things that mean more than words can express.

Now imagine how the Apostle Peter must have felt when he saw someone on that beach along the Sea of Galilee making breakfast for him that morning 2,000 years ago. And then he realized that someone was his Savior. In the Gospel of John, this is the moment when Peter finds he has been forgiven for denying Jesus following his arrest in the garden. The resurrected Christ is preparing him his breakfast, without a hint of repudiation or recrimination.

The most probable location for the event is found on the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee – marked as such within a couple generations by the Church of the Primacy of Saint Peter. 

Set aside the doctrinal questions raised in John 21, and just focus on the man. It was only a few nights earlier Peter had loudly protested he could never have denied his friendship and affiliation with Jesus… only to do so – days later- three times in the span of a few hours. 

The shame must have been overwhelming.

Overwhelming, but not insurmountable, as Peter learned that morning over breakfast.

Likewise, Jesus clearly took no pleasure in knowing the heart of His friend that night in Jerusalem. But that same knowledge meant Jesus also knew Peter wasn’t lost.

The Resurrected Jesus did not make a big show of confronting Peter with tongue-lashing recriminations or demands of apologies. Instead, Jesus asked Peter to move forward, to “Follow me.”

An enemy cannot betray us; a stranger’s denial has no sting. We can only be denied by those who we love, by those we have let in closest to us. We must choose our response. We can let our sense of betrayal consume us, or we can choose to move lovingly forward in forgiveness.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."