John 21:17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.”
The word love has been watered down so much that it means absolutely nothing. “I love your hair. I love that song. I love you even though we’ve only talked online…” Love has been reduced to admiring something or someone. We admire Jesus for what he did but do we really love him for who he is?
Jesus questioned even Peter, His closest disciple about his love. Peter had denied knowing Jesus three times after he got arrested. This was the same Peter who said, “I will go to jail with you. I would die for you.” Peter denied Jesus three times right before the rooster crowed and Peter caught the eye of Jesus staring at him from the high priests house.
A week or so later Jesus appears for the third time to his disciples after his resurrection. He asks Peter, “Do you love me?” Peter replies yes. Jesus asks him three times. On the third time Peter weeps because Jesus asked him three times. Why did he cry?
- He cried because he remembered that he denied Jesus three times and now Jesus is asking him three times, “are you sure that you love me?” How many times have you denied Jesus? We deny him when we refuse to speak up for him. We refuse to speak up for him when we refuse to speak up for those who have no voice. Justice is speaking up for the least of these.
- He cried because he realized his level of love didn’t match Jesus level of love. In the Greek Jesus asks Peter, “Do you Agape me? Peter replies, “I Phileo you.” The third time Jesus asks, “Do you Phileo me? Peter weeps and confesses, “you know all things, I Phileo you!” Agape is an unconditional, sacrificial love. It is the highest kind of love where one gives their life for another. Phileo love is a conditional love based on conditions that are favorable. Peter admired Jesus but he hadn’t grown to love him yet. Is your love for Jesus growing or still stuck on favorable conditions only?
- When we love Jesus we have to feed his lambs, take care of the sheep, and feed the sheep. That means we make our children a priority in their education and safety. We take care of the sheep by being good stewards over our communities and meeting the needs of the people. We feed the sheep the word of God.
Jesus said, “you say you love me with your lips but your heart is far from me.” He also said, “If you love me then keep my commandments!” Let’s show Jesus how much we love him today.
Help me to live out my love for you. Don’t let my life be about lip service. I give my life to you as a living sacrifice. Take my life Lord and use it for you Glory.
In Jesus Name,