Summary: Peter was stuck in his relationship with Christ and needed to make a change
Tired of being Stuck?
August 23, 2009
Have you ever been stuck? My brother and I were going fishing at a neighbors pond and had to cut across their field. There had been a lot of rain and there were some ruts from the other people going back to the pond. What we were not told was that the neighbors got stuck going back to the pond the day before.
The rest as they say is history. We got stuck in almost the same spot as our neighbors. The truck was covered in mud, the tires were down in the mud and we were going nowhere. There is nothing like the feeling of having no control and little ability to get out of the situation. With enough pushing and pulling and a little creative thinking we were able to get out of the mess. Needless to say we gave up on going fishing.
People have a tendency to get stuck in various patterns of life.
- Stuck in financial difficulty
- Stuck in a job they hate
- Stuck in a powerful addiction
- Stuck in the same area they have always been in
- Stuck in the same spiritual state
Biblical Examples of People who Got Stuck
- Bartimeaus: stuck in his blindness
- Nicodemus: stuck in his traditions and legalism
- Zacheaus: Stuck in his greed
- Jairus: Stuck in his persona despair
- Lazarus: Stuck in his tomb
This morning I want to look at another person who was stuck and how Jesus helped them out of their situation. If you have your bibles with you, please open them to John 21:15-19
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." 16 Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." 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. 18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"
Why does Jesus ask Peter if he loves Him three different times?
Some say that the three times concur with the number of times Peter denied Jesus. Others say that this has to do with a Roman tradition of questioning soldiers three times before they went to battle. Some believe that this has to do with the Trinity. Jesus asks once for the Father, Himself and the Holy Spirit. There are a number of theories about the reason and any of them could be correct. However, we may be making the issue more complicated than really necessary.
In Biblical literature, whenever someone wanted to emphasize a point they made the statement more than once. The Biblical writers say that God is Holy, Holy, Holy not because it sounds good but because it brings incredible emphasis to the fact that God is holy. When Jesus asks this question of Peter, he changes it a little each time but is asking essentially the same question.
What was the point? Jesus wants to challenge Peter to a lifestyle of love. Jesus needed to challenge Peter’s mindset. Jesus needed to change Peter’s perspective. Jesus is calling Peter to the radical life he left behind.
The point is so simple that we often miss it. Love is the essence of living for Jesus. Love is not a feeling but instead it is a behavior. There is no way for Jesus to give a command about emotions or feelings. Jesus is telling Peter how to behave. Love is action.
Because love is an action or a behavior, there can be a command
- Love is a choice
Just like every other action or behavior that we have, it comes down to choice. Each person is ultimately responsible for their own actions and behaviors. No one else can take the blame or the responsibility.
- Love is a commitment
Behaving in a loving manner towards others is a commitment. There are days when we might not like our spouse or other people. We can still make the choice to love them. Love is action and it is the essence of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 13. If we are going to behave in a loving manner it requires us to do what Paul suggests are the characteristics of love.