I love listening to Dr. Wilder’s JIM TALK CDs. One particular talk from #28 blessed me so much that I condensed and paraphrased some of it enough to share part of it here. This message shows us how Jesus healed Peter’s bad memory, giving us a Biblical example for Immanuel Prayer healing. After the denials when Peter had breakfast with Jesus, his perspective changed. We can experience the same.
In the Upper Room Peter brags that he will not fail Jesus regardless of what the other disciples do. He pledges to die for Jesus, never to fall away, or turn his back. Basically Peter declares that he loves the Lord more than the others do. Each time we read Peter’s bragging, Jesus tells Peter that he will deny the Lord three times.
Jesus prepares Peter before the denials.
In a sense, Jesus tries to prepare Peter for the coming events. Jesus prays that Peter’s faith will not fail and when once he turns again, he will strengthen his brothers. He tells Peter that he will be a shepherd, one who feeds and cares for others. He sets up a warm bond and other details that Peter needs before the denials and the healing. Jesus also tells the disciples that after He is raised from the dead He will see them in Galilee.
After Jesus is arrested, Peter is in the courtyard, cold and warming himself by a fire of coals. He denies Jesus to a servant girl. John brings Peter inside where Jesus is, and again when a girl asks him about Jesus, he denies with an oath. The third time Peter denies the Lord swearing and cursing. The cock crows. Jesus looks at Peter and he runs off weeping.
Peter forgets his bond with Jesus. The trauma is now his focus.
Peter forgets the wonderful relationship he has with Jesus. All his bragging was for nothing. He’s frightened and scared of two girls. He’s terrified of the relative of the man whose ear he cut off. Peter is not acting like himself at all. He has forgotten who he is and how Jesus sees him. He forgets that Jesus said “When you turn.” Jesus had not said, “You will not fail.” Peter sees himself as an awful person with whom Jesus is disappointed. Their bond is gone; the trauma is now Peter’s primary focus. He’s not remembering the Last Supper from only a few nights ago. He goes back to his old job of fishing.
After appearing to the disciples two other times without jumping on or even mentioning Peter’s denials, Jesus appears on the shore in Galilee where the guys are fishing, He tells them to throw their net into the other side. They are amazed that they catch 153 fish—plenty to share with others. When John points out that it’s Jesus, Peter jumps into the water and comes to shore. He does not realize that Jesus is about to clarify and restore what Peter views as a shattered bond while He heals the deep shame that Peter feels.
Breakfast with Jesus: He sets up parallels.
Here by the shore of Galilee, Jesus sets up a scene that will remind Peter of that fateful night. It’s going to be like what we call a “trigger.” Triggers help us see there is something Jesus wants to heal. There’s a fire of coals with which he can warm himself. Just like the night of the arrest, Jesus feeds him. Both times they have been up all night; John was involved both times. But this time the threat is far away.
Jesus takes Peter through the trauma.
Jesus focuses on re-establishing the warm bond and prepares to put the denial in context of their relationship. In front of the fire the similarities must have been obvious to Peter—He’s cold and warming himself by a fire of coals, there’s food, there’s the relationship. Jesus asks, “Do you agape Me more than these?” Peter answers, “I like you. I’m fond of you.” Jesus says, “Feed My lambs.” (I told you this is what you would do. I told you who you are. It’s not important that you love Me the most. You’re still going to strengthen your brothers.)
Again the question, “Peter, do you agape Me?” (Remember you swore, but you still have the same identity with Me.) Peter’s answer—“I like you.” Jesus, “Feed My Sheep.” The next question comes from Jesus as they remember the swearing and cursing, “Peter, do you even like Me, let alone love Me the best?” Peter comes back with, “Lord, You know all things.” (You see the whole picture. You have explained what was in my heart. Nothing is hidden anymore.)
There is the change: the event becomes about Jesus, not Peter. Now Peter sees from Jesus’ perspective. Jesus is telling Peter who he is—you are a shepherd. You are going to feed others, bring life to them. You forgot who you are and you forgot our relationship. But I will make of you who I intended all along.
The bond is restored.
So these three questions restore the bond that Peter ran from by denying Jesus three times. Now Peter also understands the Look that Jesus gave him at the trial. Jesus’ focus was not on Peter’s failure; He already knew it was going to happen. More likely Jesus was saying, “We are in this together; I still see who you are.” Peter runs away, likely thinking as we often do, “Jesus is upset with me. I’m a failure. I’m a terrible person.” I believe Jesus’ eyes were filled with compassion for Peter’s shame and pain.
So what about us when we have” breakfast with Jesus” and get a bad memory healed? We, too, can go back to the event and no longer feel separated from the love of God and others. Jesus restores our identity. “You are not an awful person. God still thinks you’re special.” He not only heals the memory, He heals the bond. Jesus becomes our focus instead of the bad event.
Healing does not automatically bring maturity.
At breakfast, Jesus told Peter again, “Follow Me.” (Get the bond going again. Remember what I’ve shown you and who I say you are.) Peter asks about John and Jesus says, “Oh you want to go back to comparing again? Be My disciple.” This shows us that healing does not make us into a disciple. We still have to grow maturity, character, and relational skills. Healing doesn’t teach us how to follow Jesus, bond with Him, and become like Him. We have to walk it out each day. It’s all about the relationship.
After you have “breakfast with Jesus,” tell others the good part of your story and how He fixed it. When you tell your story the future part of your brain hears it and it will remind you to turn to Jesus next time something bad happens. Those who don’t tell their story, who just feel better, forget to ask Jesus the next time.