“He said unto him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said unto Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said unto him, ‘Feed My Sheep’.”
His Scalpel is sharp (Heb. 4:12), but it’s always used for our healing, wholeness and His Glory.
“Do you love Me?”
Three times the Master asked Simon Peter this question. Although John’s Gospel records “Peter was grieved because He asked him the question for a third time,” it’s very likely there was more to his grief than that.
Assuredly, Christ’s thrice-asked question reminded him of his triple denial outside of the high priest’s house (Lk. 22:54-65). And, he’d never forget Jesus’ forecast of his actions in the upper room (Lk. 22:31-34) and the fact that Jesus was looking at him as the rooster crowed (Lk. 22:61a).
But, it’s very possible Jesus’ choice of verbs also got the best of Peter. The first two times He asked the question, He used the Greek word “agape,” which means “a God-type, self-giving Love.” Yet, both times Peter responded with “phileo,” which means “brotherly love” or “Yes, Lord, I love You like a brother.”
Then, the third time, Jesus switched to Peter’s verb, which meant He was basically asking “Do you only love Me like a brother??” And, that, very likely—along with his remembrance of his three-fold denial—is what caused the former fisherman to reply, “Lord, you know all things; You know I love you”. . .which basically meant “You know I love You with every fiber of my being.”
Prov. 27:6 says “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Our Lord didn’t ask Peter “Do you love Me?” three times to rub it in or make him feel worse. But, it took asking that question three times to strip away any final veneer of shame, pretense or denial before Peter would know he was still usable to Christ.
Oh, dear Pilgrim, there are times when the Heavenly Father will allow us to be wounded by others’ unkind/unloving words or deeds. Sometimes He’ll allow us to “fall on hard times” or go through some “fiery furnace” difficulties. But, those “wounds” produce brokenness and contrition in us and remind us of our great need of Him and His great Love for us.
There’s no doubt Judas had “sinned the sin unto death” (I Jn. 5:16) or the “unpardonable sin” because of “Satan’s entering his heart after the sop enter his mouth”—i.e., “took full possession of his heart” (Jn. 13:27). But, thankfully, such was not the case with Peter. . .for even during those hours of weeping bitterly after denying Christ (Lk. 22:62), he still remembered Jesus’ having said “I’ve prayed for you” (Lk. 22:32). So, do not “despise or faint” when you’re “wounded in your walk of faith” (Heb. 12:5). Simply remember Jesus was also wounded by you, yet still forgives you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Hallelujah!!!
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated April 8, 2010