You’ve probably heard the saying which goes something like, “revenge is a meal best served cold.”
While I’m not absolutely certain what it means when said that way, I think it means it’s best to wait for revenge until the person who deserves it isn’t expecting it anymore.
The implication is when someone has done something wicked towards you, they expect you to get back at them. It’s the human condition. Eye for eye, after all. But when you don’t respond in kind, as time goes by, they kind of think they may have gotten away with what they did. The expectation of retribution begins to fade away. And just when the person has forgotten about what they did to you – BOOM! They get what’s coming to them!!!
Peter has been VERY uneasy since he denied his relationship with Jesus the night before Jesus died. He has been in Jesus’ presence twice now since His resurrection, and Jesus has not mentioned Peter’s failure at all. Peter knows Jesus knows about his denial – not just once, but three times over – because in the moment of Peter’s third denial Jesus’ and Peter’s eyes met. Peter knew Jesus knew exactly what Jesus said would happen had happened. It was probably the greatest failure of Peter’s life.
What a great blessing for us the God we serve is into restoration and not revenge. It comes in the form of a shared meal, provided by Christ.
Peter may have been wary and weary as He approached Christ again – but Peter being Peter he sought to bely his fears with a big show of bravado. (He jumped right in the water while the boat was still 100 yards from shore.) That has always been Peter’s approach – to overshadow doubt by bravado – but it doesn’t work. Bravado is just that, and it doesn’t overcome fear, and it really isn’t faith at all; it’s just doubt in a different package.
Jesus has a meal served warm for ‘Simon, son of Jonah.’ (Jesus now refers to Peter by his before-he-knew-Christ name.) Peter probably felt the sting of that old name whenever Jesus employed it. “Feed My lambs,” Jesus says. The way out of the prison of doubt is not bravado but serving Christ.