“Do you love me?” (John 21:15)
In John 21:15-9 we hear Jesus ask Peter this very moving question. It is a beautiful and moving scene between both Peter and Jesus when Jesus gives His final instructions to His close friend Peter, who He has named to be the leader of His Church on earth. Let’s look at the very important rules and principles that He lays down for Peter to take with him on his faith journey.
1.) Love: Instead of giving Peter a huge list of dos and don’ts, He simply asks Peter if he loved Him, three times He asks Peter the same question. Jesus does this to help Peter to understand that the love for Jesus is far more important than any clever intelligence or any heroic courage or resourceful inventiveness, in fact it is more important to love Jesus than anything else in the world. This is what Jesus is trying to help Peter understand with this simple question. “Do you love me?”
More than likely, there are many of us right now who can actually identify with Peter. There often are a lot of people in our own lives who look to us, who expect things from us and it makes us sometimes sit down and wonder just how we are going to meet all of their needs. With all of our own shortcomings, how can we possibly reflect Christ back to them? How can we, with our very own wounds and humanly limitations, actually find enough wisdom and patience to actually care for the “sheep” that are in our own personal flocks in our lives? Exactly how?
The answer is LOVE. In the middle of all our questions, concerns and all of our worries, Jesus asks simply one question of Peter and of all of us…”Do you love me?”. When it comes right down to it, that is all that matters. If we know that and believe that everything else will flow from that one single question.
Even if you might find it difficult to answer that question, it’s okay, He understands. What you need to do is to slow down the thoughts in your mind and quiet your restless heart and you will suddenly understand and realize that your answer is YES, that you really do love Him. No matter who we are, we all long for the peace He can give, for His presence and for His assurance in our lives. When we take time to be honest with ourselves we also know deep in our hearts that He loves each one of us with unconditional love and it is this unconditional love from Him that will create love within us.
So, do you love Jesus? Of course you do! So, why not let that love stir up a fire inside of you, let it encourage you to be strong even in the face of adversity. Let that love teach you how you can share that love with those around you. Remember, none of us have to be perfect and we don’t have to have all the right answers to all the questions. We also don’t have to be courageous either. We also don’t have to be the most compassionate or even the most of anything! All we have to do is what Jesus asked of Peter and that is to love Him and when we do that, that same love will shine out of all of us. This love for Jesus will guide us and encourage us and it will surely warm the depths of the hearts of those we come in contact with.
Remember, Jesus didn’t give Peter a huge list of dos and don’ts. In fact as you can see His list contained one thing. Love. So, as we continue on our faith journey let’s not be concerned about the dos and don’ts of following Jesus. Instead we just need to try our best to remain in His glorious love and Christ will take care of the rest.
“Jesus, keep me rooted in the simplicity of Your love.”