“Do You Love Me?”

Scripture reading for November 5th: John 18-21

When you are in a covenant relationship with someone, it is always good to affirm our love for that person.  We go through seasons when the relationship may be strained or drifting rather than passionately connected. We go through personal trials and attacks of Satan that seek to knock us off our vows of commitment.  Today we will consider Peter, one of Jesus’ most trusted disciples who denied Jesus three times after His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. (John 18:22-27)

We don’t know exactly how long after the resurrection that the account in John 21 takes place.  Peter and a number of the disciples had decided to go fishing in the Sea of  Tiberius (Galilee).  They fished all night and by morning had nothing to show for.  As they were approaching shore, Jesus stood there and called out to them.  They told Him that they had no fish but didn’t recognize Him as the Lord.  He told them to throw their net on the right side of the boat.  When they did, they were unable to haul their net into the boat because of the great number of fish!  John recognized Jesus at that point and told Peter it was Him.  Peter immediately jumped into the water and came to Jesus, who had built a fire with fish already cooking and some bread for the tired fishermen.  John’s account states that this was the third time Jesus appeared to them.

After Jesus served them the meal, Jesus turned to Simon Peter and asked him a question. “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.” (John 21:15)  This was repeated three times in similar fashion.  Peter’s feelings were hurt because Jesus asked him this three times. (John 21:17)  Jesus made a statement of prophecy to Peter about how he would die to glorify God and then called Peter to follow Him.

Jesus wants us all to affirm our love for Him on a daily basis.  We can tell Him we love Him and that is well and good.  Actions also show our love for Jesus.  In Peter’s case, he was called to feed the lambs and sheep.  A shepherd must care for the animals, and a pastor is a shepherd!  Feeding lambs and sheep requires daily discipline and tender care.  We must follow the ‘Good Shepherd” in order to properly feed and care for His sheep!  They are His sheep, not ours!  Love for Jesus is demonstrated by obedience!

A final thought concerns Peter’s death.  Tradition says that Peter was crucified upside down in Rome.  He chose that because he felt unworthy to die as his Lord Jesus had!  Peter’s life and death brought glory to God!  We must live in obedience to the Lord!  “To live is Christ, to die is gain!” (Philippians 1:21)

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