Do You Love Me?

By on October 26, 2012

“When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”  John 21:15-17

Peter wasn’t your average kind of guy… or was he? Let’s see…he had plenty of doubts – about everything. He had run-ins with his co-workers and got rather annoyed when his boss tried to tell him how to do his job. He didn’t meet the performance goals he set, over-promising and under-delivering. He flew off the handle, had a brush with the law, and nearly got arrested for assault. He was moody and fickle, and had a hard time saying “I’m sorry.” And after his feelings were hurt, he had a hard time saying “I love you.”

Gee, Peter sounds a bit like someone I know. Someone like… me.

And what is more astonishing, is that despite all of those bad attitudes and poor choices, Jesus still loved Peter, and wanted Peter to love him back.

Words, the “I love you” words, are sometimes very hard to speak. When you were a kid, did you ever get a talking-to by a parent, and then they dared to ask if you still loved them? If you were like me, maybe you looked away, or down at your feet while your toe traced a line in the nap of the carpet. Maybe your first response to them “yeah…whatever….” or something like that. But when you were finally worn down, and admitted to loving them back, everything changed. Didn’t it? And so it was with Peter.

To refresh your memory, Peter denied Jesus three times when Jesus was crucified. Peter messed up, and in a big way, but Jesus knew that would happen. So after Jesus rose from the dead, He went back to be with his disciples, and there was Peter. Peter’s encounter with Jesus was transforming in so many ways. Not only did Jesus specifically want to address their relationship, in a general way, but Jesus wanted to know that Peter’s heart was genuinely changed, and that Peter was in a position to carry on with Jesus’ work on earth by feeding “his sheep”. Jesus asked Peter….”Do you truly love me?” That meant with everything you have and all of your being, not just in a friendly way. And Peter’s response was a sort of “yeah…you know…” kind of moment. I can almost picture Peter’s food drawing that line on the floor. So Jesus asked him again, and got the same kind of answer. But that third time…the press that Jesus applied to Peter’s heart, finally got a heart response. Jesus asked Peter, basically, that if you don’t “truly” love me, do you at least love me like a friend? Peter was annoyed with Jesus when he pressed for a better answer. But it was that hard, persistent pressing that got Peter to give Jesus a real, honest response. Peter finally admitted that he knew in his heart that Jesus knows all things, and that Jesus knew that Peter loved him. And that’s exactly what Jesus wanted to hear – an acknowledgement that Peter totally messed up, but that despite those mess-ups that Jesus KNEW that Peter still loved him.

When Jesus heard that honest, brash response, Jesus knew that Peter was really ready to love him back. Peter was also ready to have his ministry restored. Peter was a changed man, and Jesus knew it.

Are you a changed person? Are you ready for restoration? Can you say those words when Jesus calls? Do you love him?

Lord, thank you for being so willing to press us. Thank you for loving us when we don’t even know how to love you back. Thank you for your willingness to restore our lives, even if we don’t deserve it. We need you, and know in our hearts that we need you. Lord, we ask for your love and presence when we search our hearts, and bring us to want to come clean with you. Bless us, even when we don’t deserve it, and let us know that you love us as we walk through life and the challenges we face. As Peter said, we know that you know all things, including our hearts. We ask you to hold us up, and keep us strong, when the world is hard and we are pressed by it. But we want YOUR pressing and deliverance. Thank you for giving so much for us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Copyright ConnieD. 2012. All rights reserved.

 

Originally posted on ProChristianWoman.

About Connie Dudley

Connie Dudley is new to blogging. She is an attorney by trade, but has always wanted to write, and write in a way that brings a little joy (and salt and light) into the lives of her readers. She lives in Maryland with her husband, Robert, who is a recent cancer survivor - an experience which has changed her life.

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Do You Love Me?