Around the Charcoal Fires of Healing


November 26, 2020

John 21:12-17 (NIV)

12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

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.


A few unrelated-related observations heading in the same direction for today.

  1. Come and have breakfast. 

Did you catch the full weight of that? After fishing all night and catching nothing, Jesus puts them on the fish (and not just a little bit). Next he builds a fire on the shoreline as the sun rises and starts cooking some fish and biscuits. And something tells me there was coffee. Then the second person of the Trinity says this:

Come and have breakfast.    

This is what God is like. Let that sink in. 

2. When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

John was careful to set the sunrise scene with this little detail from a day back.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. (John 21:9)

So what? He was also careful to set the scene of the darkest night with this little detail from the night of Jesus’ arrest.

Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself. (John 18:18)

Three times Jesus asks Peter the question, calling him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” 

Same question three times—one for each of Peter’s three disavowals of even knowing him. 

This is penetrating restoration; deep healing of the breach . . . a total reset of the relationship. It’s not about failure or guilt or shame or regret. It is 100% about love. Love absolves guilt. Love covers shame. Love buries regret. No matter what lives or lies in our past, Jesus only needs to know one thing from us. He asks, “(Insert your name here), do you love me?”

This is what God is like. Let that sink in. 

3. 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.”

Finally, Jesus had reached the wound. How do we know? Because Peter was hurt. Jesus picked the scab in order to apply the salve of grace. He re-broke the bone in order that it might be re-set in the form of mercy. 

How desperately do we all need the gentle wounding of Jesus. We have been through so much in our lives. Many of us live almost constantly on the brink of tears while so many others capped the well on them long ago. We have all been hurt and yet we are in need of the wounding—healing wounds of Jesus which would hurt us again for healing’s sake. Too many times we allow our hurts to slowly calcify into the hardness of a broken heart. The hardened heart must become broken again in order to heal back into soft and pliable wholeness. I can’t explain that sufficiently here. I only know it’s true and that I need more of it in my life. And I know you do too. This is what Jesus does.

This is what God is like. Let that sink in. 


Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who is, as the hymn says, risen with healing in his wings. Thank you for the gifts of his wounds, for by his wounds we are healed. Come Holy Spirit and open our minds and hearts to the healing we need and give us the courage the the opportunity to receive it. Jesus, you know more than anyone else just how handicapped we are by our unhealed hurts. You know we love you and yet we need this dialogue of healing with you to deepen like never before. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.


1. What is “sinking in” the most with you from today’s text and reflection and prayers?

2. Try telling Jesus you love him today—three times in a row. Try putting your name in the place of Peter’s and rehearse the conversation with Jesus. 

3. Where might the edge of healing be in your life from past hurts? Where have you been hurt in past relationships where the lack of healing has become calcified and hardened? How might the hurt in present relationships be tended to in a truly mending and healing way rather than allowed to become hardened? 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

P.S. As I am wont to say at the end of a Daily Text series, the Daily Text is free and yet it is quite expensive. This is a wonderful way to support the cause. And please know, I earn no royalties on these books. It all goes back into the mission of sowing for a great awakening! The Daily Text series on the Gospel of John is on PRE-ORDER TODAY. It’ll be regularly priced at $19.95, but for now we are offering a deal as big as the book. Only $9.95 per copy through November 30 (50% off!). At that rate, you can afford to sow them extravagantly. 

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Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. For me today’s text is a reminder that pain is a companion of true sanctification. No pain, no gain. No cross, no crown. “ Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me”. As vessels of clay we can’t be reformed unless we’re first broken. We all must first be reconciled to God and one another before we can become ambassadors of God’s reconciliation through Christ to the world.

  2. Heavenly Father, take my heart and break it, so that I may be used for your glory. Take the part that have been harden by those who called me friend. Remove the stones that have formed from years of disapointment. My hope is in you and it is to my shame that I sought for joy in familar places. Lord God reshape me until I am made in your likeness, remove the dross so that all that would see me would gaze upon thee. Lord I thank you that through your blood I am worthy of such things. Cleanse me, sift me and make me white as snow. Do what only you can do and move me from glory to glory amen.

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