So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.” (John 21:15-17)
Peter had previously denied Jesus three times (despite being certain he would never deny Him). In these verses, he confirms His love for Jesus three times. And he is given instructions because of his commitment to love.
We need to affirm our love to God. Perhaps we’ve never openly denied who He is, but we’ve certainly denied Him quietly. We’ve put other priorities ahead of God. We haven’t listened to Him when it’s obvious He’s telling us how to respond. And the list goes on. We’re not perfect followers—we’re far from it. Affirming our love for God is a continual commitment. It’s not a recommitment, as if we need a do-over. It’s a reminder of the covenant we have with God. “Yes, Lord, I am Yours.”
In Believing God, Beth Moore emphasizes five statements to regularly declare:
God is who He says He is.
God can do what He says He can do.
I am who God says I am.
I can do all things through Christ.
God’s Word is alive and active within me.
Amen. That can be your continual commitment. Or perhaps there are key Scriptures He has given to you as a reminder of who He is, and because of your faith, what your responsibilities are.
You see, as Peter learned in these verses, a love commitment to Jesus isn’t about words. It’s about living out the words. Faith is lived out loud. God’s love is active.
Jesus asks, “Do you love Me?”
The question is the same. The answer is affirmative every time. And while varying commentaries will dig into the differences among Jesus’ instructions to tend His lambs, shepherd His sheep, and tend His sheep, our lesson today is what is common among all the instructions.
Show My love.
We show God’s love when we live it out loud in the world. We live according to His Word, which means we seek and know His Word. We live His will, and the way we know His will is by knowing God. If we’re in a loving relationship with God, our commitment grows, our familiarity deepens, and our love expands.
There is no “but God,…” in faith when we follow those words with what we think to be an exception or valid reason for pause. God is. God loves. Because He loves us, we love. No exceptions, excuses, or rationalizations. The result of love is an obedient relationship.
Dear God, I don’t want to make any excuses. I don’t want to rationalize what I’m doing or don’t want to do. I want to be undeniably obedient. Please forgive me for the times I have unnecessarily questioned You, not to draw closer to You, but that created space between us. Only You are God. Only You can fully love. I thank You.