From Kelsey Chambliss
In John 21, Jesus asked Peter if he loves him not once, but three times, reflecting the fact that Peter denied Jesus three times, as Jesus predicted, prior to the crucifixion.
When I read through this passage, I was reminded of Sam’s sermon from last November about falling in love with the Lord. He referred to Deuteronomy 10:12-- “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Sam encouraged us to question if we really, truly love the Lord with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. We may convince ourselves that we do, or act like we do. But do we really?
It’s necessary to continually ask ourselves if we truly love God, and if we’re living like we love God. We can’t afford to answer those questions only once in our lives. And neither could Peter. In verse 17 Peter responded to Jesus by saying “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” And it was true. Jesus already knew. But perhaps Peter was the one who needed to reflect and realize that he truly loved the Lord. By asking the question, Jesus reopened Peter’s old wounds of the pain he felt after denying Jesus. But despite the pain, the wounds needed to be opened.
Maybe if we ask ourselves if we truly love the Lord, our old wounds will be opened as well. Maybe that’s why we avoid asking the question in the first place. And maybe that’s what’s necessary in order to reach a place of spiritual flourishing…In order to reach the place in which we’re meant to be. Or perhaps in asking ourselves if we truly love the Lord, we’ll become comforted in that our answer is a resounding “Yes!” And that may be something we need to learn and be reminded of in order to flourish as well.
As Peter gave that “Yes” to Jesus, Jesus responded by telling Peter to “Feed my lambs” and “Tend my sheep”. What a beautiful act to not only forgive Peter for betraying him three times, but to give him the responsibility to care for and nurture those who he loves! We serve a God who not only forgives us, but who gives us the responsibility of caring for, loving, and nourishing his beloved children, despite the messes we create. May we be thankful and not take that responsibility lightly!
Psalm 149: 2-4
“Let Israel be glad in his Maker;
Let the children of Zion rejoice in their King!
Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!
For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.”
I’m a Construction Recruiter within the NY/NJ market, and I live in Somerville. As an answer to some of my prayers from years ago, I’m in a wonderful season of mentorship and learning, as I go through the Boston Fellows program, a Christian coaching course, and bible studies with friends. I grew up in the suburbs of Virginia Beach, and I’ll probably do anything for a cup of Taro bubble tea.