One of the most poignant moments following Jesus’ resurrection is His encounter with Peter on that Galilean beach. (John 21) Three times after Christ’s arrest, Peter denied Him. Remember Peter’s bitter tears after the rooster crowed? (Luke 22)

In John 21, as the disciples realized who was calling them from the shore, Peter leaped from the boat, and three times Jesus pierced his heart with the question: Do you love Me?

When is it hardest to believe our love for the Lord is true? When is it most likely we want to hide and avoid the One true love of our life? If Jesus appeared to you right here, right now and asked you, “Do you love me?” How would you respond?

I know when I am at my worst and have hurt someone who loves me, I feel unworthy and must somehow do something to get back into their “good graces” or else hide until I feel better about myself.

Why is it so hard to face ourselves after failure? God tells us, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you” (Jeremiah 31:3 ESV). To paraphrase the verse: God loves us because He loves us. He does not say, “I love you because you first loved me.” He does not say, “I love you if you worship me.” In the New Covenant of Jesus Christ, there is no “if” to his love.

Unlike human love, God places no condition on His love for us. And because God’s love is so foreign, so unexpectedly different from the ways we experience love, it is truly difficult to grasp. I struggle with knowing if I truly love God. How do I know? Should I feel an intense emotion? If not, am I faking it if I tell Him I do?

A friend had an interesting answer to the question, “Why did the Lord ask Peter three times if he loved Him?’’ Maybe, just maybe, Peter needed to hear himself say it—out loud—in order to believe that, despite his failure, he honestly did love Jesus. Jesus longed to restore Peter, to raise him up to his position as a deeply loved disciple and brother. Jesus said, “Peter, you belong to me and I believe in you. Go, I call you to care for all the others who belong to Me too.” Isn’t it true that the sadness we experience when we have hurt the Lord is the very proof that our heart of flesh truly desires to please and love Him?!

And you, dear sister or brother, the Spirit of God has replaced your cold heart of indifference with a heart of flesh that longs to know and honor God. Like Peter, when we fail, let us run to Love Himself:

Everyone who confesses that Jesus is Gods Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, weve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.

–1 John 4:16 The Message


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Who Do You Say that I Am?
God Longs for Me