For 50 years the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO) has partnered with colleges and churches inviting college students into a relationship with Jesus Christ. CCO understands developing and maintaining a solid relationship with Jesus is crucial – and that other relationships students have with family and friends can sometimes be tested or broken during these stressful times.
Former Chairman of the Board for CCO Dan Dupee discusses how the power of Jesus’ resurrection restored His important friendship with Peter and how college students can benefit from His example.
“When Jesus walked the earth, He had friends,” states Dupee. “He also demonstrated the efforts we should make to restore a broken friendship. Each time I read the post-resurrection accounts in the Gospels, I wonder how a human could be more defeated than Peter was after he denied knowing Jesus three times. Then Jesus died, and there seemed no hope for Peter to be reconciled with his master and friend.”
Dupee explains that it would be hopeless if there were no resurrection of Jesus.
“Later, Jesus is on the shore, cooking breakfast for his friends, when Peter wades in. As they share a meal in front of the fire (see John 21:15–17), Jesus asks Peter three times, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ By the third ‘Do you love me?’ Peter is hurt and exasperated (‘How many times is Jesus going to ask me this?’). He answers, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’ This is the last time Jesus asks Peter the question. For every denial there is one ‘Do you love me?’ and one admonition, ‘Care for [feed] my sheep.'”
Christians typically read this passage as Peter’s reinstatement to disciple status, but according to Dupee, it also serves to restore a very human friendship.
“Peter has wounded his rabbi and friend at Jesus’s deepest point of vulnerability,” states Dupee.
“These words echo David’s words from Psalm 55:13, which we read earlier: ‘But it is you, my companion, my colleague and close friend.’ “In this exchange, Jesus not only restores one of His three closest disciples, He creates a powerful example of relational restoration. He creates his own real-life parable about ‘loving your neighbor as yourself.’ He lives into his own prayer to forgive those who sin against us (see Matt. 6:12). Jesus shows us that even when it might seem impossible to get a friend back who has betrayed us, there is great hope. He shows us that the power of the resurrection breathes hope into every part of life, even the most broken relationship between friends.”
The college and university campus are the most strategic mission fields globally, with only 2 percent of students being reached with the Gospel. CCO partners with local church congregations to help students feel a sense of belonging. A community is formed between the CCO staff and students, who are invited into local congregations’ lives. Through this community of fellowship, CCO can minister to the students in a life-changing way.
Share your thoughts on this story and other news stories on Christian News Journal’s Facebook page here.
For more news and stories of the day from Christian News Journal, click here.
—By CNJ Staff