As I’ve immersed myself in the Gospel of John the past month or so I’ve realized that the lesson Jesus taught his disciples is the same one He is trying to teach me now. Trust. How much of their heart were they willing to give? Where did they draw the line in their level of trust? Those are the questions that Jesus figuratively asked His disciples over and over and those are the same questions that I find my heart pondering as well.
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 said, “Feed my sheep.
18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
In these verses in John 21, Jesus asks Peter the same question three times, “Peter, do you love me”? Jesus knew the answer to that question, so what was Jesus REALLY asking? He wanted to know if Peter trusted him.
Jesus has been asking me the same question lately, “Do you love me”? Hit by what has felt like an onslaught of difficult situations again, I have had to re-examine my answer and willingness to go deeper. It was just a couple of years ago when I was tested in a similar way and I emerged with a stronger faith and intimacy with the Lord. Now I find myself struggling with the same issue, though at an even deeper level. Do I trust him to take care of me – REALLY trust him? I know he can find me a job or a place to live, but will he really meet my need to belong? Will he fill the deepest place within me that so often feels alone?
Jesus meets each one of us where we are. He knows where we doubt and struggle to surrender. Today I have decided to willingly tender those innermost places to him as my offering of surrender. That’s what Peter had to do in his interaction with Jesus – he offered the Lord his love and trust for whatever was in front of him. I am making that same choice.
Yes Lord, you know that I love you.