Peter, do you love me? This was the question posed by our Lord to the Apostle after Peter’s denial of Him the night of His crucifixion. Notice that Jesus didn’t ask him if he believed in Him, or if he had professed or confessed Him, or obeyed Him or even if he had placed his trust in Him. No Jesus asked Peter if he LOVED Him.
Our Lord knew that on the very night he denied Jesus, Peter had professed that he would never fall away. That night, he had participated with Jesus in the most intimate of times, the first communion service and sat under Jesus’ most passionate and personal teachings. And only hours before his denial, Peter had come to the defense of His Lord by drawing a sword. If anyone expressed evidence of devotion for Jesus, it was Peter. If ever their was one who should not have denied Jesus, it was Peter. But he did.
In asking the question, ‘Peter do you love me’, Jesus was probing the very heart of one who had not known the weakness and depravity of his own soul until that night. It was only after being confronted with his great falling away, that Peter truly understood the depth of the mercy of our Lord and the freedom of forgiveness. As Peter ran from the courtyard and wept bitterly, he demonstrated his repentance of his great sin. And having just seen in the ‘look’ of Jesus (Luke 22:61), the immeasurable grace and offer of forgiveness, he could not help but love the One who would forgive so great a sinner. For love is the natural response of forgiveness shown.
What if we were asked today if we loved Jesus? As a Christian, we might find ourselves confused when asked if we belong to the elect, if we have truly professed Christ, or if we are a disciple of the Savior. But there should be no confusion or doubt when asked, if we love Jesus. If we have wrestled with our sin, turned from it’s appeal and experienced the liberating forgiveness of Jesus Christ, then we cannot help but say with some confidence that we love Him.
How is it with you today? Do you love Jesus? If the answer is no then evaluate if you truly are of the faith. If you answered, yes, then celebrate this Easter week with renewed assurance of Jesus’ love for you and His unending mercy and grace in granting forgiveness to His repentant children.
soli deo gloria