Lovest Thou Me?
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. ~John 21:17
Love is the highest and most powerful of human emotions. Love is what draws and keeps us together. Love is a bond that keeps people together. Love is the motivating reason why a man and a woman marry. Love is the special bond and force between parents and children. Love is the active agent that compels a church body to minister to its community, to its members, and to the world. Without relationships, you will die. Without love, passion is nonexistent. Without love, we are insecure, indifferent, and inhumane. Love is the difference maker. This morning, we are considering a very probing question by the Lord Jesus Christ to an insecure and backslidden Peter. “Lovest thou me?”
There is the reckoning of love.
Jesus asked Peter three times, “Lovest thou me?” The first two times, He asked Peter if he loved Him with an unconditional, unadulterated, and undiminished love. He used the Greek word agapao, which is loving like God loves. “Peter, do you love Me in the same capacity that I love you?” The third time, Jesus used the Greek word phileo, which is a lesser love. It is brotherly love, a love that we experience on a human level. “Peter, do you love Me like a Brother, or do you love Me because I’m God?” In considering our love for God, do we love God as God loves us, or do we love God like we do in human relationships? Loving God means no fickleness and with no conditions attached. What kind of love do you have for Jesus?
There is the relationship in love.
Love is the basis for our most meaningful relationships. Those whom we love are those we desire close fellowship with. Those whom we love are those we share our heart and burdens with. Strong love produces strong relationships. Strong love implies right priorities. Real love does that which pleases the other person and not what pleases us. Real love is mature and longsuffering. Real love thinketh no evil. Real love is kind and giving. Here is a question to ask about our love for God: when was the last time you started the day and asked God, “Lord, what would You like me to do to show my love for You?” How much of our praying is asking God to do something for us instead of what we can do for God?
There is the responsibility in love.
Jesus called on Peter to feed His lambs and His sheep. I see the Lord Jesus giving Peter incredible pastoral theology in these statements. He is telling him to have an unconditional, unfailing, and indiscriminate love for all of God’s sheep. Love the new believers and established believers alike. Love the sheep that are in the fold and those who have wandered away. Love the sheep that are young and strong, and love the sheep that might be older and infirmed. Love the sheep that show deference, and love the sheep that show defiance. He was telling him to love them at all times. He was telling him to love them when they were unlovable and wore on his patience. Love them when they are productive and when they waste your time. Feed my sheep!
There is the replication of love.
In effect, Jesus was telling Peter to repeat the same love that Jesus demonstrated and performed in him and the other disciples! And not just repeat it, but replicate it! Peter, like many of us, thought ministry was about doing when, in reality, it is mostly about loving. No wonder Paul could say, “The love of Christ constraineth us.”
“Lovest thou me?” Take time this morning to love the Lord with no strings or conditions attached. Then, do whatever it is that He tells you to do.
Have a love-anointed God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Leviticus 24-27