Do You Love Me?

Today’s Passages – John 20 – 21

(Second Milers also read –Psalms 66 – 70; Proverbs 14)

He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. (John 21:17)

I love this account of Peter being restored to service by the Lord. Let me make some observations:

Jesus first asks Peter if he loved Him “more than these”. The “these” of that question were the fish that Jesus had just prepared for the disciples. Peter had made the decision to go back to his old occupation of fishing. Peter was discouraged because of his previous failure of denying the Lord prior to His crucifixion. Peter thought that his service for the Lord had surely come to an end. Peter thought there was no way that the Lord would still want to use him after what he had done. God knew Peter would deny Him when He called him to follow Him, and He was still willing to use Peter even after He had failed. I think it is very interesting that the Lord did the very same miracle here at Peter’s restoration that He did very early in His earthly ministry where He first called Peter to serve Him.(see Luke 5:1 – 9) Both times Peter was fishing, and was not really getting anywhere. The Lord called Peter away from His fishing business in Luke 5, and He is now reminding Peter that “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance”. Jesus had not changed His mind about Peter, though Peter certainly was not sure about himself.

The second observation that I would like to make is that Peter was certainly changed through the experience of denying the Lord. Formerly, Peter boldly asserted his love for the Lord stating that he would die for Him. Now, after failing that test, he is no longer self-confident. He does not make the same bold claims that he had previously made. The Lord use the word “agapao” when he asked Peter if he loved Him the first two times. Agapao is a deep, abiding, unconditional love. Peter replied that he “phileo” – loved the Lord. Phileo is the word for affection. Peter’s answer told the Lord that he had a fondness for Him, but he was no longer boldly declaring that he loved Him unconditionally. Peter was certainly humbled by his previous failure.  Peter is no longer boasting that he would die for the Lord, but the Lord goes on to tell Peter that he (Peter) would someday die because of his love and devotion to Him.

The third observation that I would like to make is that the Lord is very patient with His servants. He knows our frame, that we are but dust. He knows that even though we may be willing in spirit, we are still weak in our flesh. Praise God for second chances. I can’t count the number of times that I have blown it, yet God never gives up on me.

Peter certainly did go on to feed the Lord’s lambs, and he did get many more opportunities to demonstrate his love for Jesus. After the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, Peter preached the first great “church age” revival with 3000 saved and baptized. He had a boldness now that did come from his flesh, but that flowed mightily through him from the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.

How about you? Maybe God called you to do something for Him, and you have forsaken that call. Why not come back to the Lord humbly, and see if He won’t put you back in the game like He did with Peter.


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