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  • East Martin CRC

Even If You Can’t

John 21:15-17

Verse 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.”

We reach the last of the three moments of this walk and talk with Jesus and Peter. This takes a small twist.

Once again Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him. But after two failed attempts of getting Peter to say he loves Jesus with the all in kind of love, Jesus counters Peter’s offer of loving dearly with an option of the same level. Jesus knows that pressing Peter further will not gain the desired answer but also knows that this friendship love is better than nothing at all.

The truth is that Christ knew exactly what Peter was capable of and He knew that when push came to shove Peter would do more than he thought he was able to do. Just like the night of Jesus’ arrest, Peter stood up to defend Jesus when others were running away. Although his act of protection was reprimanded by Jesus, Peter had shown his devotion to Christ. Yes, Peter denied Jesus within hours of trying to defend Him but Peter was not likely to make that choice again. He probably thought of those moments every time he heard a rooster crow.

Despite the depth of Peter’s doubting his own ability to love Christ enough to do all that Jesus is asking of him, Jesus isn’t having those concerns regarding Peter. Jesus coming down to Peter’s level of love was not Jesus giving in to Peter’s only giving half-hearted service, it was Jesus saying, “I know that is all you think you can give so I’ll accept that but I know that you are able to give more than you think.”

We often feel like we can’t give Jesus the full surrender He is asking of us. He knows that we can do more than we think. The key is leaning on His power. While being in full surrender to Him and His will is His greatest desire for all of His people, He will settle for a lesser commitment for a while. The sad thing is that if we choose less commitment we will receive less blessing. Jesus knew that Peter would surrender more and more as he matured in his faith. The same is true for us. If we take the steps of faith that we can make at the moment, He will lead us deeper. But it is important to take the steps of faith. Not taking the step reveals the stagnant nature of our spiritual life. We need to move as He leads whether we feel capable or not.

Making It Personal

When have you failed to move as He wanted you to? What was the result of your lack of obedience? What are you needing to take a step of faith in today?

Making It Personal Kids

How much does Jesus want you to love Him? How much do you love Him? Does He want you to obey Him?

Closing Prayer

Father, thank You for Your patience with us. We know You want more from us than we are often willing to give. Help us grow in love for You so that we come to obey You readily and wholeheartedly. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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