Summary: This is a challenge to our commitment.
Rev. John W. Gerald
I. Lovest Thou Me More Than These (Things)
John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
Jesus formally addressed Peter. His questions were very personal, and specifically directed to Peter because of his three denials.
We are challenged in our love for Jesus, too. Do we love him more than the material things of this life? They may be the tools of our trade. They may be the instruments of our livelihood. They may be the things we love for our recreation, our areas of pride and prestige. They may be our homes, our cars, our fishing boats, sports and recreational vehicles. It may be that the LORD would have us to give the money we spend for these things to missions and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Mammon is money, or material things!
Love carries with it certain responsibilities. The one having leadership responsibilities must feed the little ones. Those who neglect their responsibility hurt the most dependent and helpless. If we love Jesus, we will want to feed the little "lambs." If we neglect the little ones, we neglect our future. The LORD’S kingdom, as every flock of sheep, is increased through the little "lambs."
II. Lovest Thou Me More Than These (other People)
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Do you love me more than you love these other people? It could be family, wife or children, buddies, co-workers, fraternal and all other associates. The responsibility for those with this depth of love and commitment must be to feed the more mature Christians. Obedience to Christ involves service to others. We can not afford to neglect mature Christians, either. We need our own measure of nurture and care as well.
III. Do You Really Love Me?
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
The first two times Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, Peter answered that he liked him, for the form of the word for love that Peter used was weaker. This time Jesus used the form of the word that Peter had used, and Peter was "grieved" because Jesus had plumbed the depths of Peter’s answers, and Peter’s lack of commitment. "Peter, do you love me more than you love yourself?"
As it was with Jacob at the ford Jabbok. He put his possessions out first over the brook, then his two maidservants and their children, then his two wives and their children, and last of all he put himself at risk before Esau. For he feared that Esau would kill them all. Our love is felt in this progression, or in these degrees of love, also.
Gen 32:22 And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok.
23 And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had.
24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
Jacob knew that he was dealing with a heavenly being. He wanted God’s blessings upon himself and all of his. Jacob was no longer called, "Jacob, the crafty deceiver, or supplanter," but Israel, the father of nations. His encounter with God changed the man. He was no longer afraid to face Esau, but went on confidently. He had already had God’s assurance that he would be safe, for God’s promise, when he first came over this brook, was that he would bring him home safe at last.
John 21:18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.