John 21:15-18 “Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you truly love Me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love You.’
Jesus said, ‘Feed My lambs.’ Again Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you truly love Me?’ He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love You.’ Jesus said, ‘Take care of My sheep.’ 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.’” (NIV)
Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him, knowing that Peter did not grasp the depth and calling of his love for Jesus. Jesus knew that Peter was missing what Jesus was about and what that meant for Peter. Peter’s love for Jesus could only be authentic when his life demonstrated a love and compassion for people. There was no doubt that Peter could love Jesus and what He was about, but could Peter’s love for Jesus translate into a love and compassion for others? Jesus explained in Matthew 9:12-13, “Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” Jesus confounded His disciples by constantly living a life that said, “My mission is
the lost.” Do you love the Christian organizations you belong to more than Jesus? Do you love the tools (Quiet time, Worship, Bible Study, Prayer Group, Small Group, Missions, Choir) more than Jesus? Do you love your Christian way of life more than Jesus? Jesus saw that Peter could easily love the Jesus that represented establishment, organization, processes, goals, mission, revolution, and self-righteousness, but not love the Jesus that loves the unlovable, cares for the down and out, and meets the needs of those around Him. Is your love for Jesus represented by a transforming love or the trappings of Christianity? Is your love for Jesus represented by caring, feeding, and witnessing to those around you or the Christian entities in which you are involved? Matthew 9:36-37 says, “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.’” Jesus does not want your practice of Christianity to only be with organizations and the trappings of religion, but as one who sees the hearts and souls of those around you and whose heart overflows with compassion for them.
John 13:34-35 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another." (NIV)