He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.“  John 21:17

“He loves me.  He loves me not.  He loves me . . .”

We’ve probably all seen the familiar scene played out in cartoons.  The lovesick protagonist lying in a meadow, flower in hand, dreamily plucking petals one at a time in hopes the flower's petals end on "he loves me" so that they do not have to go through the exercise again with another flower.  And, while I would not be so irreverent as to paint my Savior as doing such a thing, the story of Peter and Jesus in the referenced passage of Scripture begs me to reflect.

Is my following so inconsistent?  Is my will to obey so weak?  Does my behavior towards Jesus and His goodness cause Him to ask if I love Him, as with Peter?

The story is most certainly one of redemption.  Peter, wanting to follow Jesus in His glorified state, tells Jesus that he would die for Him.  Yet, Peter denied he even knew the Christ after His arrest and before the crucifixion, just as Jesus told Peter would happen.

John 13:36-38 reads, Simon Peter asked, "Lord, where are you going?”  And Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.”  "But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I’m ready to die for you.”  Jesus answered, "Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter—before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me."

Ouch.  And, He was right.

After the resurrection, Peter and the fishers of men returned to fishing for fish.  And, like the exact place Jesus found them in the beginning of their story, they have toiled all night and caught nothing.  Then Jesus, standing on the shore, calls to them once again to cast their nets on the other side of the boat, the right side, and they will get some.  When Peter and the other disciples do this, again their nets cannot hold the catch--153 fish.  They do not even recognize it is Jesus.

Read the story in John 21.

As the fishermen come to shore, they find Jesus waiting for them, breakfast served.  He never ceases to feed His sheep.  And, as He questions Peter three times whether he loves Him or not, Jesus gently reminds him that there is a job to be done, that love is not an empty word, a fluffy feeling, or a switch to turn off and on.  No, love is a powerful verb, just as God, Himself.  Love and following Jesus is an act of the will carried out by the whole being:  body, mind, soul, spirit, and emotions.  When we choose to follow Him, we are joined to Him.

We are joined to Him.

I wonder . . . are we really careful in our will to live out the Good News of Jesus Christ?  The self-indulgent culture in which we live is certainly not careful about anything.  But, God's Word reminds us to be careful--in all things.

1 Corinthians 3:10 admonishes us to be mindful of the greater impact beyond ourselves, "Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful."

2 Corinthians 8:21 reminds us that others are watching how we live, "We are careful to be honorable before the Lord, but we also want everyone else to see that we are honorable."

And Ephesians 2:21 depicts the reality of our union with Christ, "We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord."

Just like Peter, we have a job to do.

May we be carefully about it today, and may our actions prove our love for Him.

Goodnight, Runners.


Anonymous said…
There is definately a lot to find out about this subject.
I like all the points you made.

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