John 21.15-17 cont.
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said (says) to Simon Peter: “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”
He said (says) to Him: “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You”. He said (says) to Him: “Feed My lambs”.
16 Again He (Jesus) said (says) to him a second time: “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said (says) to Him: “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You”. He said (says) to him: “Shepherd My sheep”.
17 A third time Jesus said (says) to him: “Simon, son of John: “Do you have affection for Me?” Peter was irritated because He said to Him a third time: “Do you love Me? So he said to Him: “Lord, You know all things, You know that I love You. Jesus said to him: “Feed My sheep“.
The first question that Jesus asked Peter was a question of comparison; the second question of Jesus was a simple question designed for Peter to declare his love for Him; and the third question was one where Jesus was meeting Peter at where his heart was. In this Jesus was not rejecting the responses of Peter, but was accepting him and his declaration.
Jesus does exactly the same with us.
1 Sometimes it is good for us to be faced with having to make a comparison about the depth of our love. It is good for us to be asked if we love Jesus more than others, or other things. This is not a question that leads us to boast, but that leads us to think about how much we really do love Jesus.
At such times it would be good for us to have the following words of Jesus in mind:
26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children and brothers and sisters, even also his own soul, he is not able to be My disciple.
27 Anyone who does not carry his own cross and follow Me is unable to be a disciple of Mine” – Luke 14.26-27.
(The Greek word ‘hate’ also has the meaning: to regard someone with less affection, to love less and to esteem less. This is how we need to understand it in this context).
The love that we have for Jesus must be higher and deeper than the love we have for anyone else, or anything else. When it is we discover that the love we have for others is made richer through the love we have for Jesus.
2 There are also times when we need Jesus to ask us the simple question: “Do we love Him?” We know that He loves us, and that He laid down His life for us. We know that He does not wait for us to become good enough to be worthy of His love, and we know that His love for us is always the same. His simple question to us is: “Do you love Me?” There is no catch, there is no hidden agenda. It is just a simple question that requires a simple answer.
Let us spend time telling Jesus that we love Him.