Summary: Christ offers Peter an open-book test to see how much Peter loved him
The Open-Book Test
Scripture Reference: John 21:15-17
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. 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. 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.
I have taken many tests in my life and some of the easiest test seem to be the open book test. The reason I say this is because without a shadow of a doubt there is always a possibility to get all of the answers right because the answer is right in front of you
I would like to use this concept of open book tests to talk about our scripture of today.
In this passage of scripture Jesus has risen from the dead and he is showing himself to the disciples.
He is talking to Peter in particular
Now I am sure that many will disagree with me and I am sure that this scripture has been preached differently by many different preachers for years
But my question today is what is Jesus talking about when he says “More than these” what exactly are “these”.
At first glance we can easily say that these are the fish that they had just enjoyed dining on but at what point is that made specific?
In fact, there is no where in this particular passage that “these” are clearly defined
So I like many of you assumed that Jesus was talking about either the fish they had just dined on or the great catch that they had just enjoyed
But again I say both conclusions are only assumptions and if you know Jesus like I do you never want to assume anything that he says or does
This brings me to my point of today. First, since there is no clear definition in the bible as to what “these” are, it is completely safe to replace what we think Peter was being challenged by with what ever we are being challenged by today
For instance some of us are dealing with different issues that are distracting our walk with Jesus such as drugs, pornography, alcohol, fornication, etc. you make your own list
I am sure of one thing though is that there is certainly something that we are dealing with as we continue to walk with Christ
I would like to replace the fish that you thought Jesus was talking about with whatever it is that is distracting you right now
I would also like you to enter a spiritual realm as if Jesus was right in front of you right now asking you the question just as he asked Peter
Do you love me more than these?
I am sure that you are going to stand proud and tall just as Peter did and say that you love Jesus more than these things but remember Jesus knows your heart and he saw the whole thing. He wants to heal you of your situation or problem but first you must confess with your mouth that you love Jesus more than “these”
Some of us are dealing with things that we would rather Jesus not bring to our face but Jesus is giving us an open book test on today. He standing right alongside your distraction and asking the question.
Do you love these more than these?
It is so tempting to answer him quickly saying how much you love him but in order to love someone takes a certain level of commitment not just with your mouth but with your heart
Some of our “these” are much more serious than other “these”
Whatever it is I pray that you know that Jesus knows and he has it in the palm of his hand and he is waiting on our confession of whether or not you love me more than these.
Symbolically speaking some believe that Jesus asked Peter this three times as a reminder of his denial of him but that would be cruel in my opinion. I believe that when Jesus says that he has put something behind he actually puts it behind.
He never has to use your past sins to determine your level of love to him. It is much more important to Jesus to deal with the issues that are effecting you right now