Summary: Jesus does a examination on the quality of Peter’s love. It is an exam we all must take as we follow the Lord.
Intro: cards, flowers, chocolates, even jewelry, are only expressions of love. The quality of love is tested all through the year. Ill) it is like the guy who rode home with his friend who stopped by and got some roses, had dress clothes on, and had a fresh hair cut. He said, I go home every Friday and ask my wife out on a date. This impressed the man so much, who wasn’t a romantic at all, that the next Friday he did the exact same thing. But when his wife saw him, she broke down crying, saying, this is a terrible day, Billy got in trouble at school, the baby is sick, I burn’t our supper, and now you come home drunk. Love must be consistent for it to be real. Jesus gave Peter an examination of love in John 21:14-19—if you can past this test, you really know what true love is really about.
EXAMINATION OF LOVE
I. The Quality of Love—v.15 Do you love me more than these? As I looked through a few translations and commentaries, the true meaning of this question could very well be one of three.
a. do you love me more than these other disciples do? Peter, I have chosen you to be a leader, these others will follow your lead, so this is very important, is the quality of your love of the highest nature. Do you have a burning love in your heart that even surpasses these other men.
b. Do you love me more than fish or fishing? Peter, this has been your life, this is what you know and love, but do you love me more than your hobbies, more than your job, more than your recreation, more than the money you receive from your trade.
c. Do you love me more than anything-(NEB) Peter, am I first and foremost in your life. For you do be my disciple, you must love me with everything that is within you.
II. THE MINISTRY OF LOVE-V.15-17
Jesus asks a series of questions concerning Peter’s love. Three times he states, feed my sheep, tend my sheep, keep my sheep. Peter is your love great enough for me that you will operate in a ministry of love. Will you give yourself to me, by giving yourself to others.
· Feed my sheep—Peter will you preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Will you share my life with others. Even when you are rejected for the message, will you still love the messenger so much that you will keep preaching.
· Tend my sheep—will you take the time to disciple, train, lead others. It is one thing to feed them, it is another thing to make sure they grow up into adulthood. These little lambs will take time and care, and most of all a lot of love for them to become established in the flock.
· Keep my sheep—or multiply my kingdom—will you fill my house, will you go out into the highways and byways and compel them to come in. Peter, do you love me enough to cause others to follow me, as you do?
III. THE COURAGE OF LOVE-V.18-19
Jesus now asks Peter do you have enough love for me to go the distance. When you were young you dressed yourself and went where you wanted to go. But when you are old, some will take you to a place you don’t want to go.
This was a prophesy of the martyrdom of Peter who would be crucified upside down for Jesus Christ.
· Peter do you love me enough to have the courage to give a lifetime to me. A lot of people can give a day, a week or even a few years, but will you go the distance without ever turning back.
· Peter do you love me enough to move past failure into success? Will you be strong enough, even though you have failed, to get back up, and carry a cross.
· Peter do you love me enough to give your very life for me. Do you have the courage never to run again? Jesus said, follow me. It is recorded that not only did Peter not run, but when he was crucified he said I am not worthy to be crucified like my Lord, and they turned him upside down. Is our love strong enough to be turned upside down for our Lord?
Ill) after reading the stories in Foxes Book of Martyrs I wondered how many professing Christians would be able to sacrifice their lives for Christ? Like one of the martyrs who said, I am only disappointed that I have but one life to give for Jesus Christ.
Close: we all must examine our love. The Ephesus church was a busy church, a successful church, but a church that had lost it’s first love. And even though a lot of good things were happening, they were rebuked because the quality of their love was not in place.