The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. John 21:17
The question, “Do you love me?” from an analytical viewpoint, is that the individual asking requires comfort or reassurance to allay feelings of insecurity. While that may be true in some circumstances, the premise for asking the question of reaffirming one’s love for another may stem from another reason, one that has nothing to do with requiring reassurance.
Love has profound characteristics that distinguish it from the other emotions that we possess. The declaration of love for another implies a commitment to serve, the responsibility to place one’s own desires beneath the needs of someone else, and the dedication to faithfully stay until the end of life. Yes, there is much expected, and much is required when we say that we love someone.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NLT
Love: Doth (does) not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 1 Corinthians 13:5. Most importantly, love governs our behaviors; we are constrained and do no harm with our words or actions.
For us to understand love, we must have unwavering faith in God, it is His strength that enables us to possess the attributes of His love.
Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” Matthew 22:37
Even Simon Peter, Jesus’ disciple, did not have a complete understanding of love; his faith was weak, which caused him to possess wayward thoughts along with spontaneous and inappropriate behaviors. Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave. John 18: 10. Although Jesus foretold Peter that he would deny Him: “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, Peter before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.'” Luke 22:34, his wavering faith produced fear, and after he denied Christ three times,..he went outside and wept bitterly. Luke 22:62
Peter was grieved when Jesus asked him three times if he loved Him; even so, Jesus was aware of Peter’s shortcomings. “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32
Each of us has the shortcoming of not fully understanding God’s love. Because of our weak faith, our love fails, and like Simon Peter, Jesus must also ask us, “Do you love me?” When we truly love God, we will humbly serve Him until the end.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6
Prayer: Dear God, We acknowledge our weaknesses and ask for the strength to love you and to love others as you require. We pray in Jesus’ Holy name. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020