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Do You Love Me?

Posted on May 1, 2022

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Do You Love Me?

Acts 9:1-20

Psalm 30

Revelation 5:11-14

John 21:1-19

Probably one of the most difficult and sometimes most offensive questions to hear are the words “do you love me?” When asked that question by someone whom you truly do love it can feel offensive to feel that your love is being questioned. You might believe that you are showing love all the time however for some reason it is just not being communicated through. What makes you feel loved and what speaks to you love may be completely different from what someone else may understand. Someone may tell their child that they love them all the time but maybe their actions do not show it in the way that can be communicated to them so then that child does not feel your love. For some you may think your actions show love so you never say it and therefore the person who needs to hear you say it feels unloved because you never say it. I wonder how Peter must have felt when Jesus asked him the question, “do you love me?”

Paul was a man of passion zealous for the Lord. Before he became Paul and was called Saul, he believed he was showing love and obedience for the Lord. He felt so offended and so angry with these followers of Christ for not worshipping God in the way he believed that He should be worshipped. By persecuting these Christians, he believed he was pouring out righteous anger towards the Christians. So much so that Acts says that he was breathing out threats of murder against the disciples of Jesus for teaching a “false” religion or so be believed at the time. One might believe that Paul was lacking love. However, Paul very much loved the Lord. He was willing to do anything to serve the Lord and he believed that he was doing the right thing. Paul was not lacking in love for the Lord the Father but was lacking perfect love that can be found in Jesus Christ and love for his fellow man and fellow Jew. His love was just misguided until Jesus opened his eyes and heart on the road to Damascus. Once he saw Jesus everything changed and the same love and devotion that he had which caused him to persecute Christians was focused on loving them and loving those who were lost and needed to know Christ. Paul went about telling the world without fear because his love conquered fear.

Revelation reveals to us in chapter 5 the love that all of creation will have for the lamb who was slain. John writes that he saw every creature on heaven and earth and under the earth and sea singing to the Lord. It is not just people that John is talking about but every living thing in his creation. All of the animals on the land and the sea, and all of the creatures that live underground. When it says all of creation will worship the and love the Lord it means all of creation. When Adam and Eve sinned all of creation was affected and now with Jesus Christ being the lamb who was slain it appears at least according to Revelation, all of creation is affected once again.

John shares several events at the end of his gospel of Jesus appearing to his disciples. In our reading for today we see the third time that he has appeared before them at the sea of galilee. This is the place that Jesus first began to call his disciples. It is where he performed the miracle of a large catch of fish and called out Peter, Andrew, James, and John out to be fishers of men. Now once again Jesus appears to them while they are out fishing. Once again, they had fished all night and have caught nothing. Once again, Jesus tells them to cast out their nets and they catch a large number of fish. When they get back to the shore Jesus has prepared breakfast for them. Doesn’t that sound nice after a long night’s work to come in and have breakfast prepared for you but it is prepared for you by the savior of the world.

After breakfast Jesus takes Peter aside and asks him three times, “Simon Peter, do you love me?” He asks him how much he loves him in his first question. He asks “do you love me more than all of these?” Does he love him more than all of his friends? Is Jesus more important than everything else? If so, if you really love me Peter, then “feed my lambs.” Jesus asks Peter a third time, “Do you love me?” Peter says “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus says, “Tend my sheep.” And now just as Peter denied Jesus three times, he asks peter a third time, “Do you love me?” At this time Peter feels hurt that Jesus has asked him a third time. I can only imagine how much it hurt Jesus that he had denied him three times. Peter responds, “Lord you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus says, “Feed my sheep.” If Peter truly loves Jesus, then he is charged to be a shepherd and to lead the flock and care for those whom Jesus loves and whom he has died for. Jesus also reveals to Peter the kind of death that he will experience because of his love for Jesus. However, Peter’s love for Jesus is greater than the death that he will experience. And those whom Jesus loves are more important to Peter than all that he will suffer. The disciples felt a burning need to share the truth with the world even if it was not popular and if sharing it would cause them physical pain and suffering. The world needed to know how much Jesus loved them.

I have this question for you today. Do you love Jesus? If you do then will you feed his sheep? Will you share the truth of his word to everyone regardless of how they might treat you back in return and regardless of what consequences you might experience for your love for Jesus? There is coming a day in which Jesus will return and that day is coming ever so closer. As time passes the truth is ever more trying to be suppressed and censored within the world. There will be those who will persecute you just as in the days of old. Those days are coming and they are coming rapidly. Therefore, despite all of these things will you answer the question by your actions and by your words that is asked of you by Jesus. “Do you love me?”