Saturday, 14 May 2022
“…do you truly love me more than these? ” - John 21:15
The scene here in today’s reading, is after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ near a sea-side where Peter and a few other disciples had gone fishing. In Matthew 26 we see Peter disowning Jesus three times prior to His crucifixion. To remove this cloud of denial and rejection from Peter, Jesus is carefully leading him to a unique experience of his reinstating, acceptance and serving the Lord.
Jesus forgives Peter and builds in him the lost confidence. Three times Peter had disowned and three times Jesus asked Peter whether he loved Him. If we look closely we can see that Jesus is not looking for a superficial answer. Jesus looked for the effect of repentance in Peter—a true commitment to Him. When we say we have repented do our actions portray that? Jesus intends to go into the depth of our commitment. If on one side we say we love God and on the other side, are we willing to serve Him?
Twice Jesus used the phrase “Do you truly love me?” – referring to “Agape” (Greek) which means self-sacrificial love. Third time Jesus asked “do you love me?” -pointing to “Phileo” (Greek), a brotherly love. Though He is God Almighty, He wants to be your friend too. His love was extended to put Peter back on track. Note that this time Jesus is not calling him Cephas or Peter – since he lost the credibility and the significance of those names through his action. Instead Jesus calls him Simon - his original name.
Peter’s repentance is evident from his reply, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” To a repentant person Jesus is asking to commit his life to serve the Savior. This was a turning point in Peter’s life.
His profession changed from fisherman to fisher of men.
He received forgiveness and a total change in his identity was established.
Through Peter’s reply we see the expression of a humbled soul – sensible of its weakness and understanding the need of divine strength to press on. Jesus gives the instruction to “Feed My lambs” (vs.15). This was a call to Peter to take care of the flock of God. Peter having understood and done his duty wrote years later for all leaders of God’s people: “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”(1 Peter 5:2-4) As the shepherd feeds and cares for the sheep so are we to care for spiritual need of people around us.
Dear reader – can you ask these questions to yourself today: “Do I truly love Jesus?” “Is there anything that stands in the way of my true love for Him?” “If I truly love Him, will I commit myself to serve Him?” May your answer be “Yes!”
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, Thank you for laying down Your life as an expression of loving me. I pray that I will truly love You and serve You all the days of my life. Amen