Do you love me? A question asked by Jesus
Many times, in my mind’s eye, I have pictured the scene we read about at the end of John’s gospel. Jesus, standing on the shore, watching as some men in a fishing boat try unsuccessfully to catch fish. This boat is not full of fish, for they had caught nothing, but it is full of disappointed, discouraged and disillusioned disciples; full of doubt, in despair, with many unanswered questions.
These men had, for the past three years, been on a ministry trip with Jesus and had seen many miracles. The blind could see, the deaf could hear, the lame could walk and the lepers were healed.
They had discovered that the answers they sought were not to be found in ministry or miracles, but were to be found in a man and His name is Jesus.
He was the one standing on the shore watching. How wonderful it is to know that wherever we are in the boat of life, whatever we fear, with all our unanswered questions and doubts, this same Jesus is watching over us.
He is filled with compassion as He asks the disciples, who did not recognise Him, “Have you caught any fish?” (Many times we don’t recognise Him as He speaks to us.) “No we have caught nothing.” “Put your net down on the right side of the ship and you will catch fish,” They did, and what a catch. John remembers something like this had happened before, (you can read about it in Luke’s gospel chapter five). John speaks to Peter, “It is the Lord.” In seconds Peter is out of the boat, in the water, on his way to meet Jesus. What is it about Peter, boats, water and Jesus!!?
Jesus speaks again, “Come and dine.” Now the disciplesknow who it is. Jesus gives them food, friendship and fellowship.
He knew what they needed. To sit in His presence and be fed by Him.
They had just been taught the answer to unanswered questions, doubt and discouragement. Could this be the answer we need to unanswered questions, doubts and discouragement? (And we all have them). The answer is not to be found in miracles or ministry, but in the man Christ Jesus, to be in His presence and to be fed by Him.
There is one more important thing that Jesus has to teach them. “Peter, do you love me more than these?” I wonder what these referred to. The fish, the food, the friends, the miracles, the ministry. Do we today love the following more than Jesus? The preaching, the people, the singing the service,the worship, the witnessing. They might well be today’s these!! They are all good things, but do we love these more than Jesus?
Peter replies, “Lord, you know I love you.” The second time,“Peter, do you love me?” “Lord you know I love you.” The third time, “Peter do you love me?” Peter was grieved because Jesus asked him the third time, but Jesus was teaching Peter, the others present, and us, that if you sort out the question of your love for Him, everything else will fall into place. (Most of those present were going to prove their love for Jesus by dying for their faith.)
Today Jesus askes the same question to us, “Do you love me?”