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  • East Martin CRC

How Deep Is Your Love?

John 21:15-17

Verse 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.”

Yesterday we discussed the type of discussion that Jesus and Peter were having and today we start taking a closer look at the dialogue itself.

Jesus asks a question that likely put Peter off guard. He needs Peter to be aware that this is an important conversation. If Jesus had just rambled on needlessly with idle chit chat Peter may have missed the urgency of Jesus’ message. The fact that Jesus was asking a question that Peter thought was a given shows that this question wasn’t so that Jesus knew the answer, it was so Peter did.

Jesus’ question probably had Peter wondering what Jesus was up to. “Peter, do you love me more than these?” How was Peter to answer such a question?! Of course he loved Jesus but could he really say that he loved Jesus more than the other disciples? John had proven his love by never fleeing or denying Jesus. John had even gone to the crucifixion and had agreed to care for Mary, Jesus’ mother. That was a great deal of love! Could Peter really say he loved Jesus more than John?

Peter may have been unsure if he really loved Jesus more than the others but he had no doubt that he loved Jesus a lot. But Jesus was asking a very difficult question. He was asking if Peter loved Him with the “all in” kind of love. Jesus was saying, “Simon, do you love me to the highest degree of love possible?” Peter wanted to say yes. He had followed Jesus for three years, hadn’t he? He had walked away from his fishing business for those three years. He had pulled out the sword and tried defending Jesus when He was being arrested. Of course he loved Jesus! But did he love Him that much?

Peter answers Jesus with the best he could promise Jesus at the moment. He tells Jesus that he dearly loves Him. No, he couldn’t claim the depth of love that Jesus was asking but he wasn’t denying Him. He had made progress since the denial. Peter must have sighed a sigh of relief when Jesus didn’t ask him about the lower response of love. Instead Jesus gives him a job to do, “Feed my lambs.”

Making It Personal

Have you ever had one of those moments when you felt like Jesus was asking more of you than you could give? What is usually standing in the way when you feel that way? What do you need to do to change that feeling?

Making It Personal Kids

Is it sometimes hard to do what Jesus wants you to do? Why is it hard to obey Him sometimes? What do you need to obey Him about today?

Closing Prayer

Father, thank You for Your patience with us. We do love You even if it isn’t as much as You would desire of us. Thank You for loving us more than we could ever return. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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