Saturday, August 20, 2016

Do You Love Me? - Jesus

Readings for the Day
Jeremiah 45-47, Psalm 105, John 21

Verses for the Day
John 21:15-17
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus answered, "Feed my sheep!"

Thoughts for the Day
As the risen Jesus eats with the disciples, Peter is likely feeling very sheepish. He had denied Jesus three times and now Jesus is among them just as he said. First Jesus says, "Do you love me more than these?" Seemingly he is saying to Peter, "Do you love me more than your fishing trade. Do you love me more than the success of the catch I just gave you?" When Peter answers a second time that he loves him, Jesus answers "feed my sheep". He is telling Peter that his love for Jesus will be shown in shepherding Jesus' people.

A third time Jesus asks Peter if he "LOVES" Him? The Greek word for love here is "agape". It is the same love that Jesus showed when he went to the cross. It is a self sacrificial, self emptying love which puts the other person's interests above your own. This is the love of the Father Jesus showed the world in His incarnation. As Paul says, "Jesus emptied himself becoming a servant until his death on the cross".

Jesus is trying to teach Peter the type of attitude he will have to have in order to shepherd the new Christian community. Peter was the first to confess Jesus as Lord, and Jesus promised He would build His church upon Peter's confession. Though Peter confessed Jesus as Lord, God still had work to do in his life before he could be a leader. The pain and embarrassment of Peter's threefold denial, would be replaced by Jesus' threefold re-instatement of him as an apostolic Leader in the early church.

It is easy to deny Jesus today as well? Sometimes we deny Jesus with our lips. Sometimes we deny him with our lifestyle. Sometimes we deny him with lives of indifference and mediocrity. But as Jesus saw Peter's heart he knew he could still use him as his apostle to build the first church. Maybe you have denied Jesus recently. Do you love him? Do you love him more than these? (Read whatever in your life takes precedence over your walk with Christ).

The most important thing you can do as a result of your love for Jesus is love someone else with the same love He showed you. Jesus is always looking for shepherds who are willing to lay down their lives for others. Go feed HIS SHEEP!!

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