“After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ Peter replied, ‘you know I love you.’ ‘Then feed my lambs,’ Jesus told him. Jesus repeated the question: ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ Peter said, ‘you know I love you.’ ‘Then take care of my sheep,’ Jesus said. A third time he asked him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, ‘Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Then feed my sheep.'” John 21:15-17
How many times have you heard a statement like that before? “You know I love you”. I’ve said it myself numerous times. We most likely all have. The fact is that if someone has to ask, then it’s most likely not being shown. I think we all fall into the thinking that as long as we say it then that should be enough. But bottom line is that if you love someone then it shows up in your actions. You don’t ever need to stop telling someone you love them but you’re whole relationship should be an outward physical representation of that love.
The same goes with our relationship with God. In John 14, Jesus says that if we love Him then we will do what He says. This isn’t said as a controlling master. It’s said from a place of love from Him to us. When you love someone and trust that he/she loves you, then you trust them to have your best interest in mind. That’s what Jesus is saying, that if we say we love Him then we trust that what He says for us to follow is the best path for us to take because He’s proven His love for us.
I think it’s interesting that Peter gets his feelings hurt that Jesus questioned him three times. Peter had JUST denied that he even knew Jesus when He got arrested. Out of fear, Peter deserted Jesus in that moment. Completely throwing out all of the years of intimate friendship that they had shared. I think it’s a fair question for Jesus to ask. But don’t we all do that? Just say to ourselves that God knows all things, He knows our hearts without us ever doing anything or speaking a word, so He already knows we love Him. God is not a God of empty words like we can be. When He says He loves us, it shows in EVERYTHING He does. Love is action. Love is a verb, not an adjective here. If we love God, then we follow what He says. We take the love that He has given us and we pour it out on others. We don’t live in fear of being found out. God’s love should make us bold. It’s not meant for us to keep it just for ourselves. God’s love is meant to be a continual flow. Like water flowing from Him, to us, and on to others. Water can become polluted when it’s blocked up and stuck in one place. But a continual flow gets continually refreshed. Selfishly keeping it to ourselves pollutes it because of all the junk each of us carries around with us. But if we allowed the water to flow through us, it cleanses everything. Like cleaning out a wound. We need a continual, active, free flow of His love constantly going through us.
Jesus told Peter that if he loves Him then take care of His flock, His people, His followers, all God’s children. To not fall back in quiet fear, but step out, be bold and tend to His people. To follow the two commandments, to love God with all that he is and to love people the same way. To share everything that He learned. Show love. Live the example of Jesus’ love. Be love in action.
These words are not just for Peter, it’s for us all. This is Jesus’ commission for US. Sometimes doing this can feel hard but Jesus leaves us with this promise…
“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27