“When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. 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.” 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.” 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.””
John 21:9-17 NIV
The Apostle John notes more interesting details of Jesus’ appearance to Peter. We notice Jesus’ invitation to breakfast, the mention of a charcoal fire, distribution of fish and bread, as well as a poetic display of grace through Jesus’ intentional questions.
All in all, we notice Jesus bringing about reconciliation with Peter without directly addressing the elephant in the room.
Jesus never condemns Peter for returning to fish or for denying him. Jesus simply makes breakfast and invites Peter for a conversation over food. Obviously, Peter knows the elephant in the room, he even smells his shame as the fragrance of charcoal reminds him of the night he was asked if he knew Jesus while warming himself by a similar fire (Luke 22:55-57).
Jesus doesn’t have to bring up the incident to heal Peter’s shame. Instead, he undoes the shame by replacing it with love. Jesus loves Peter profoundly in this moment with his thought actions, kind words, quality time, and intentional questions.
Perhaps we, too, can offer love in place of shame as Jesus did. Is there someone Jesus is inviting you to reconcile with by serving them with love rather than bringing up their shame of wrongdoing? Or perhaps the person you need to reconcile with is Jesus himself. If so, listen to this song (https://youtu.be/BoZd7ZXh9yY) receiving Jesus’ presence where there is no shame, only love.