Here is the story of Peter, from my memory and interpretation (I've heard several sermons over the many years on these particular passages including Gary Wiens, Joe Steinke, and my dad Kerry Dunn):
Scene 1: Last Supper
Jesus: "I am going to die. Everyone of you will fall away."
Peter: "Everyone will fall away, but I will never leave you. I will die for you."
Jesus: "Peter, Satan has asked to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith will not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. Tonight before the rooster crows you will deny me three times."
Scene 2: Trial
Peter is warming himself by the fire. He denies Christ 3 times. The rooster crows and he looks up. Some people say his eyes meet Jesus eyes. He runs away broken-hearted.
Sometimes, we think all the Bible stories end with "happy endings" and we think the people in the stories were fine, strong in their faith all along because we know what happens in the end. But stop here. Stop in this moment. Peter thought he knew who he was. He didn't. At this moment, Peter had stepped into the darkest moment of his life. I'm sure he felt like he was in a dark pit. We run away when we see our darkness, but guess who is interceding on our behalf, who sees the end? Jesus knew who he was, loved him as he was, and prayed for him to survive the test. Peter didn't know the end but Jesus saw the end ~ and when you turn back strengthen your brothers.
Scene 3: Peter fishing
Peter returned to his former life. Peter had failed.
Jesus calls him from the boat, and Peter jumps in and swims to shore (the desire and zeal of his heart never left; it was still there). Jesus said, "Do you "love me with abandon"?" Peter, "You know I "friend love" you." Jesus, "Feed my sheep."
Jesus a second time, "Do you "love me with abandon?" Peter, "I "friend love" you. Jesus, "Feed my sheep."
Jesus a third time, "Peter, do you just "friend love me?" Peter, "You know all things. You know what kind of love I have for you."
Jesus, "Yes, I know all things. And you do love me with abandon and there will be a day where you do give up your life on my behalf."
Sometimes we get broken. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we are in a dark pit and we don't know who we are. Through it all, Jesus is watching and sees what it is in our hearts. It doesn't get lost in the darkness. Jesus will call us out of the brokenness of our hearts and lift our eyes up to see Him and say, "I know you love me; that you love me with abandon. And I can and will use you. I know what you are made of better than you know yourself."