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Do You Love Me?
by Clifford Tate 
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John 21:17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, 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, "Feed My sheep.” NKJV

Imagine if you will Peter’s heart still lingering with the failure of denying the Lord on the night He was betrayed. Once again he is face to face with Him in His entire resurrection splendor. The other times our Lord showed Himself to the disciples, He never once mentioned what Peter or any of the other disciples had done on that night of His betrayal that would lead to His crucifixion for He told them beforehand that they all would be scattered that night and desert Him. Although Peter went out and wept bitterly, he still was probably so distraught over his failure that he wanted to go fishing to somehow focus his attentions on something that for many years brought him satisfaction and comfort. Peter probably could never get the expression of our Lord’s face out of his mind on the night of his denial when the Lord turned and looked at him.

Our Lord being all knowing knew that He needed to restore Peter with certainty but in gentleness. He knew Peter would never voluntarily come to Him with the matter. So this I believe is why our Lord asked him three separate times, “Do you love Me?” The first two times our Lord used the Greek word agapao, which means to love in a social or moral sense. In other words am I just a social acquaintance to you like these other men here. Then the third time our Lord used the Greek word phileo, which means to be fond of or have affection for (denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling). Our Lord wanted to bring home to Peter whether his love was merely associative or was it deeply a heartfelt love because of his personal relationship, attachment, or connection with Him.

After the third time, Peter got the connection of the three “Do you love Me?” questions with the three “I do not know the Man” answers given by him that night and he saw the gentleness of our Lord restoring and forgiving him. Peter quickly understood the connection and being grieved (tears in his eyes perhaps) said, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love (from my heart by personal attachment, relationship, devotion, and connection) You.” Our Lord knew Peter loved Him truly from his heart, but he wanted Peter to look within his own heart to see, behold, and rekindle that love he had for our Lord. As our Lord went on to tell Peter how he would die and Glorify Him, Peter proved his love for the Lord Jesus Christ by the life he lived until he was himself crucified upside down because of his love for Jesus Christ. Like Peter we too will prove or disprove our love for the Lord Jesus Christ by the life we live and not merely the words we speak (see article entitled “Where is Your Treasure?” www.faithwriters.com/article-details.php?id=98515). For let us always be reminded of the words from our Lord in an earlier Chapter of this same gospel.

John 14:15 If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands. QAB

John 14:21 “The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I [too] will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him. [I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him.]” QAB

John 14:23-24 Jesus answered, “If a person [really] loves Me, he will keep My word [obey My teaching]; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home (abode, special dwelling place) with him. Anyone who does not [really] love Me does not observe {and} obey My teaching. And the teaching which you hear {and} heed is not Mine, but [comes] from the Father Who sent Me.” QAB

“The safe place lies in obedience to God's Word, singleness of heart and holy vigilance.” A. B. Simpson

“Human love has little regard for the truth. It makes the truth relative, since nothing, not even the truth, must come between it and the beloved person.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“There is, however, equally great incentive to worship and love God in the thought that, for some unfathomable reason, He wants me as His friend, and desires to be my friend, and has given His Son to die for me in order to realize this purpose, not merely that we know God, but that He knows us.” J. I. Packer

“The best means of resisting the devil is, to destroy whatever of the world remains in us, in order to raise for God, upon its ruins, a building all of love. Then shall we begin, in this fleeting life, to love God as we shall love him in eternity.” John Wesley

Sincerely in Christ,

Clifford D. Tate, Sr.

Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reader, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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