He Loves Me!
This devotional is a series of excerpts from Wayne Jacobsen's life changing book, He Loves Me! Download a PDF of this book by clicking the link below.
Day 23: The Most Powerful Force in the Universe
Do you love me?" Is there a harder question you can be asked by someone you care about? It implies that you've done something to suggest otherwise. How do you answer with words when your actions fall so far short?
"Do you love me?"
The words must have sliced to the depths of Peter's heart as Jesus probed him. It had been a little over a week since Peter had abandoned Jesus at his greatest moment of need. After promising he would die for Jesus, Peter's fears had caught up to him. In the heat of the moment he had proved to all that he had loved his own life more than he had loved his friend.
Jesus had already asked the question twice, referring to the greatest depth of love any person could offer another. Both times, Peter could not say that he did. In the verbal dance they engaged in that morning on the shore of Galilee, Peter had answered with a different word for love than Jesus had used. "I have great affection for you, as a brother," he responded.
We are not told why he couldn't answer with the word that Jesus used, but it is easy to assume his failure might well have played into it. Peter knew he had not loved him as much as he thought, and perhaps in the face of his denial tried to find a word that would more honestly fit his actions.
When he asks him the third time, Jesus switches to Peter's word for brotherly affection. Though Peter answers in the affirmative he is hurt by the fact that he'd been asked three times. But notice how undeterred Jesus is by his answers. All three times he invites Peter past his weakness to ministry in his kingdom. "Take care of my sheep." His message is clear. You're not damaged goods. Your failure has not changed anything between us. You're still in the family.
This exchange is fascinating for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most incredible is not the answer he seeks of Peter, but the simple fact that Jesus asked the question at all.
What God ever cares about being loved?