After the resurrection you'll find Jesus in a conversation with Peter where he asked Peter, “Lovest thou me?” - Peter answers, “Yes, Lord. You know I love you”. Jesus asked Peter a second time, “Lovest thou me?” - Peter answered, with a sigh, “Yes, Lord, you know I do”. Jesus asked Peter a 3rd time, “Lovest thou me?” - Peter finally knew what Jesus was asking him.
During this conversation Jesus told him that Satan desires to sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you. Sifting is a process. First, the grain goes to the threshing floor beating the grain out separating it from the straw. Next, the winnowing process comes where it’s tossed into the air and the wind does its work, blowing the chaff away so the grains fall back down for recovery. The wind always represents the Holy Spirit’s work.
Have you ever been sifted? When God winnows away so much of what you identify yourself with you’ll look different after the recovery. Being sifted and seeing all your junk up in the air and out of your control is a terrible feeling. Take heart, the good stuff is what’s left.
After Jesus ascended to Heaven Peter would soon go through the sifting process. God wanted to remove some things from his life, but Jesus encouraged him by telling him, “I have prayed for you”. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the father praying for you and me too! Hallelujah, I find comfort knowing that.
When two people say, I love you, that’s intimacy. The kind of love Jesus had for Peter is Agape love, Jesus wanted Peter to hold on to that. If love is based on feelings or circumstances then it’s not real love. Jesus is our model. We love him because he first loved us. We love others because He loves through us.
Jesus asked Peter these questions before his sifting process and confirmed that he was going to come out the better for it, I think we do too!
When Jesus asked Peter the third time, “Do you love me?” and Peter finally understood the question, he said, “I love you, Lord, I know you are in my corner praying for me and yes, I will feed your sheep”. A good dose of humility changed Peter, it changes us. That humility is what gave him the opportunity to preach Pentecost.
Has Jesus ever asked you these questions? What’s your response?
Peter’s first response with the Lord was too much self confidence. He said, “I’ll die for you Lord”. He even cut off the ear of one of the soldiers, but later that night after Jesus was arrested, Peter responded from fear denying the Lord three times. Peter saw Jesus from a distance through the courtyard door where their eyes met, he felt such shame and he ran. Do you follow Him from a distance because the risk of knowing Him personally is too great a cost? Is it easier Phileo loving Jesus without the commitment? True love will always cost you something. Being a disciple will cost you something.
There are two kinds of love being discussed between Jesus and Peter. Phileo is a brotherly love which usually has conditions then there’s and Agape love, it’s unconditional love.
The three denials, perhaps lead to these three questions. Jesus didn’t want a Phileo love from Peter he wanted an Agape love. You have to love Jesus unconditionally to serve Him. These questions required action on Peter’s part. Jesus was asking Peter to search his heart.
Do you love me?
Do you love me?
Do you love me?
Agape love has no conditions. We are His disciples, people are watching us, they need our good and godly example. After His resurrection when Jesus told them to go and tell His disciples to meet Him Galilee He specifically said, “and Peter”. Jesus restored Peter. He is always for us! He takes our messes and turns them into His masterpiece and uses us for His glory.
Take a moment to insert your name where Peter’s name is. Read the passage given and have that same intimate conversation with Jesus. He who began a good work in you will complete it, just ask Peter!
15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.