“So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He *said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He *said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He *said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 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 all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus *said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
John 21:15-17 NASB
Love’s in need of love today
When Peter and the other disciples met with Jesus on the beach, I am sure he still remembered the thrice denial of the Lord. Up to that point he had not had that one on One encounter to deal with the events of the night before Jesus’ crucifixion. Here they were, on the beach. It was the time of reckoning.
In that moment of grace Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him. Love in the mind of God is different than the love of you or I without the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus spoke of agape love, divine love. Peter spoke of phileo love, that love that comes in the nature of man.
When I read the passage, my heart breaks at all the times I myself expressed my love for my Savior, meaning to expound the deepest terms of love, but only having the lower love in my heart. In my early days I felt shame when I thought of the great grace that God had for me. How the King of Glory came to earth to live a life of humility, to die for my sins. Great love indeed!
As time has passed by, my love moved from phileo to agape, and back and forth, as the impact of salvation was shown in my life. There has been a transformation, as God’s heart has become mine. I began to pray years ago for that to happen. I wanted to love as He does. Through the refinements of the Lord, He is accomplishing that work in me.
I have also gotten a glimpse of the heart of God when those He loves fall short of what He intended for us. I find myself in deep mourning over my sin like never before. I also mourn over others. Having received a taste of God’s glory, I desire all to come to the fountain and taste of the living water. I can tell you, change will come.
When I consider Peter on that day, I can only imagine how that love for Jesus in him love deepened over time, as he ministered by the power of the Holy Spirit. On the day he left this world, to join the Lord, he had tended the lambs, shepherded the sheep, and fed them. I wonder if, at that moment when he met the Lord in Heaven, Jesus asked once again if he loved Him. I am sure Peter fell onto His face and said I LOVE YOU!
I want that moment. I desire that my love be God’s love, not only for Him, but for His people. In this mortal form, bound by human impulses and emotions, it is hard to be consistent in loving, but I am confident that with His help, I can. The biggest help comes in remembering that we are all a work in progress. We are all like Peter as we start our spiritual journey.
Believers, know that Jesus loves you with an everlasting love. It is divine and transcends all things. He loved you before the foundation of the world. Those of you who do not know Him remember this: ““For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 NASB
He loved you so much that He sent His Son to pay for your sin debt. The spotless Lamb, sacrificed for many. You too can know the love of God. Ask Jesus to forgive your sins. Sinners, unforgiven have a very limited understanding of love. Sex (Eros), familial (storge), and friendship (phileo) only go so far. Real love, godly love (agape) is transformative. The people of the world need to hear of that love.
In the immortal words of Stevie Wonder, love’s in need of love today!
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!