Three times. He asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Three times.
How many times has He had to ask me? How many times has He spoken to “get me right”…to get to the core of me? You? How many times has He spoken to you?
You know, that whisper that silences everything else; that touch that stops you in your tracks; that cuts to the person you really are. The voice that gets down to the truth of what is really going on.
When you hear it, you know that from that point on, you can’t be the same. You know that conversation will change everything: the way you feel and think, how (if) you go forward from there…how you see things, how you respond. Everything. You know the significance of the question, and the response is critical.
This is no normal “do you love me”. Peter had been with Jesus throughout His ministry years. He had witnessed the power of the Messiah. He thought he knew what it meant to “follow” Jesus. He thought he loved him and was faithful and “sold out” – he even said he would kill or be killed for Him…then it happened. He denied Him. He followed at a distance and watched him be tortured and crucified. His Jesus – the one he had left his life for was dead. Until that moment on the shoreline he thought it was over.
Then the questions. “Do you love me?” I suspect with every answer the realness of love became clearer. The requirement of what it meant to say yes became deeper and deeper. With the third question, the deal was sealed and the proof is in the Bible. This man, with his yes, was never the same and was completely devoted to Christ.
As hard as Peter’s life was – he was tortured, forsaken, probably hungry and without many times, imprisoned, chained up, beaten (on the list goes) he never wavered again. His dedication and love for Jesus was undeniable.
I want a love like that. I want to stand firm and follow Him regardless of the cost. If my hands are empty and I have absolutely nothing material to prove He loves me, I pray I will still say yes. If my life is hard and I’m destitute I still want to love Him. I still want to lift my hands to praise Him. I pray I will. Yes, Lord. I love you.