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Lovest Thou Me

Updated on August 17, 2014

Do You Love Me?

Hmm...well, do you love me? Isn't that a question we ask and want answered all the time? How do we know if when someone says, "I love you," that they actually mean it and aren't just trying to appease us?

Jesus is no different than we are in wanting to know if our love for Him is true or not. He even posed this question to one of His first disciples, and that's where our focus takes us today.

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What did Jesus really ask?

Many have wondered why Jesus asked Peter 3 times "lovest thou Me?"
Some have said it was because Peter had denied Jesus 3 times, and that remembering this he would repent and turn back to Jesus. 

Others have taught it represented the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord that had come to pass.  Thereby showing Peter's death to sin, burial of the old nature of man and resurrection of a new spirit who would live eternally.

My question is more to the reason why Jesus replied differently to Peter's response.  What did He really want from Peter?

Let's take a look as to what Jesus actually said in John chapter 21 verses 15-17.

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Do you know how to love someone?

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John 21:15-17

...so when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son on Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these? He (Peter) said to Jesus, yes, Lord; You know that I love you. Jesus said unto him, "Feed my lambs."

Jesus said to him again the second time, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?" Peter said, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You. Jesus said to Peter, "Feed my sheep."

Jesus said the third time unto him, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?" Peter was  grieved because Jesus said unto him the third time, "lovest thou Me?"

And Peter said unto Jesus, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." 
Jesus said to Peter, "Feed my sheep."

Lovest Thou Me ... anyone?

Many people have sung this song over the years (including me), but this particular video I found captured my thoughts best. As we begin our lesson let us prepare our hearts for what the Lord wants to teach us. Let this question be answered in your own heart.

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Who is watching over the lambs?

John 21:15-17 ...so when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son on Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these? He (Peter) said to Jesus, yes, Lord; You know that I love you. Jesus said unto him, "Feed my lambs."

When Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him for the first time Peter's answer was quick, "Yes, you know I love you." It was if Peter was saying, "What kind of a question is that? You see I've been with you for 3 years now. Can't you tell how I feel by my actions?"

Sometimes we may tell others we love them, but they really cannot tell it by our actions. Jesus told Peter, if you love Me, then you will feed My lambs. When we come to Christ, we come as babes, lambs in need of caring for, lifting up and tending to.

How many lambs have come to Christ and have been devoured by wolves, because no one took them under their care "wing" to protect them as they learn about what it means to be a Christian or Christ follower?

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Peter's Word is Tested.

Peter was being tested. He felt he would be able to withstand the fiery darts of the devil just because he hung out with Jesus. But the Bible instructs us that we are not only to be hearers of the Word of God, but followers. In other words, you can't just hear what Jesus has to say, but have to act on what He says. You show love toward someone by believing them and doing what they ask.

"But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any are a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like a man who looks in the mirror.  He looks at  himself and then goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. (he forgets what a mess he was before he was cleansed.)" James 1:22-25 (emphasis mine for clarity)

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Lovest thou things more than Me?

When we help others grow in faith, our faith grows. In caring for the lambs and those in need, we show Jesus we love Him by doing what He would do. We demonstrate love by caring for others unselfishly and sacrificing our needs over someone else's.

If Jesus requires something of us, it means sacrificing all things for the sake of the cross. We are to love Jesus more than wealth, riches, fame, people, our stuff and even more than our desires.

In the time period that we live, wealth, fame and riches overtake our desire to serve the Lord. Jesus asks you just like He asked Peter, "Lovest thou Me more than your house, your car, job, family or your stuff?" What will your answer be? Will He have to ask you more than once as He did Peter?

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures on the earth, where the moth and rust ruin them, and where thieves break in and steal your treasures.  But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven where no moth or rust can destroy, and where thieves cannot break in or steal from you.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  (If your heart is on God, no one can steal anything out of God’s hands.)  

Matthew 6:19-21 (emphasis mine for clarity)

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Test #2 Will Come

Jesus said to him again the second time, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?" Peter said, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You. Jesus said to Peter, "Feed my sheep."

"Lovest thou Me?" "Peter was asked a second time. "Jesus, didn't you hear me? I just told you I did, why are you asking me this again?" This was probably how Peter felt when he answered Jesus yet another time. But this time Jesus didn't say the same thing to Peter, instead He said, "Feed my sheep." Now why do you think He didn't say lambs?

The second time Peter denied Christ (before His crucifixion), was a time when he was in front of his enemies. Would he remain faithful under pressure or give in to the crowd?  We know what happened.

Peter fell. A true follower of Jesus, faithful and trusted servant of God falls flat on his face and denies Jesus when the fire got too hot to bear. It's easy to be a Christ follower when there is no encounter with the enemy.

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We are Still Sheep.

... and never stop being sheep.

We are all at different points in our journey with the Lord, and even those who have followed God closely are not exempt from falling into sin by giving in to temptation. If we continue to feed on the Word of God, through teachings, praise, worship, prayer and fellowship with believers we are more likely not to give in when the testings come.

Jesus was instructing Peter ahead of time so that when others fall, he would know how to show forgiveness and help people get back into fellowship with the Lord.

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Mark God's Words, You WILL Be Tested.

As long as there is an enemy, there will be tests and trials.

As long as we are on this earth, we are going to be tested, tried and tempted. Jesus said we would have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. Though we fall, we are not defeated. God loved us so much that He made a way for us to get back up. But how much do we really realize His love is that great?

“These things I have spoken unto you; that in Me you might have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer;  I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 NKJV)

The Pressure Builds

... and when it did, Peter got angry!

Jesus said the third time unto him, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?" Peter was grieved because Jesus said unto him the third time, "lovest thou Me?"

Jesus asked Peter for the last time, "Peter, lovest thou Me?"

Scripture says Peter got angry or ticked off at the Lord. Can you believe that? Peter was angry, grieved and hurt that Jesus really didn't believe his answer. But how did Jesus respond? He didn't get mad or upset. No, Jesus was implying that Peter if you think that I should realize that you love Me, then your words and actions will prove it. "Feed My sheep, Peter."

What was the point of asking Peter a third time? Jesus knew that even Peter, a man that followed Him for 3 years would fall into sin when the pressure was on, despite the truth of what Jesus said. The greatest Bible teacher in the world is still a lamb, or "sheep" as Jesus put it.

Like Peter we are to teach religious leaders and scholars who are given to tradition the truth about the cross of Jesus Christ. Seasoned believers still need to be taught and humbled before the Lord. Staying in fellowship with God and those who He is using to teach the truth about scripture will help us from falling into sin when the pressure builds.

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You Can't Love God Without Believing Him.

If you don't believe all God says, than you don't love Him.

And Peter said unto Jesus, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to Peter, "Feed my sheep."

Jesus was trying to convay to Peter to teach them (the lambs to the sheep) from the cradle to the grave that I love them and gave My life for them. Tell them that I love them more than My own riches, My own glory or fame. I gave them Me, in return all I want from them is that they BELIEVE ME.

How do you feel when you say something to someone and they don't believe your words? What do you have to prove in order to make them believe you? Will you die to prove what you say is the truth?

"Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me." (John14:1 NKJV)

Jesus said that if they (we) believe what He told us, they (we) will obey My (His) Word and feed My (His) lambs and sheep, sacrificing for others as I have done.

So I speak to you, the reader and modern day Peter who would never fall... "Lovest thou Jesus?"

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Do you feel loved?

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Jesus said he loves all the world. - We need to believe with the heart of a child, because God says to.

Whether you believe Jesus or not won't change His love for you. You just have to believe He does, because He says so. Listen as the children do sign language and sing Jesus Loves Me.

Do you have any idea?

Do you have any idea how much God loves you? Do you know how to love someone sacrificially? Can you say, "Precious Lord I love you more than all the things of this world?"

Do you know God loves you?

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How do you know Jesus loves you? Because He said He did. If Jesus says it, He means it. Would He give His life for you if He didn't love you? Who do you know sacrificed their life for you so that you could live eternally? No one.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish (in hell), but will have everlasting life (in Heaven).

John 3:16 NKJV (emphasis mine)

Hey, Somebody Loves Me! - When you realize that God really does love you, there is a joy in your heart that you cannot explain.

He answers my prayers and really cares about me.

Jesus is waiting to receive you.
God so loved the world that He gave

His only Son for you.  
Believe Him

Jesus is waiting to receive you. - Believe He loves you.

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I Really Love You

God So Loved the World - from John 3:16

 This is my prayer, that you believe His love for you and accept it.

Lovest thou Me?  Then live for Me.  Feed My flock.

“If you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ

is God’s Son, and believe in your heart that God raised

Jesus from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart

you believe unto Righteousness, and with your mouth confession

is made unto salvation.”(Romans 10:9-10 NKJV)

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So you want to know Jesus as your Savior?

You can by saying this prayer.

Dear Jesus,

Come into my heart and save me. Forgive me of all my sins and wash me as white as snow. Help me to live for you and not deny you when I am under pressure. I love you and want to grow in faith. Thank You for saving me today.

In Your name I pray, Amen.

That's all there is to it. You are now a child of God's. Learn more about Jesus who loves you and died for you by studying His Word the Bible.

Come back for more teaching and share with others how Jesus saved you from hell. "Lovest thou Me?" Jesus is now asking you. What will you do for Him today?

Let us know if you prayed this prayer. Click on the photo to leave comment on my bio page (for privacy it will not show).

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Has this teaching helped you in any way? - Please share how. God bless you.

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    • PastorCher profile image
      Author

      Pastor Cher 3 years ago from United States

      @shellys-space: Same to you my friend.

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 3 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      Happy Valentine's Day my Christian Sister!

    • SBPI Inc profile image

      SBPI Inc 4 years ago

      God is Love

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 4 years ago from New York

      Nicely done. May God bless you.

    • carolinarobin profile image

      carolinarobin 4 years ago

      Absolutely my favorite Christian song! My cousin sang in a gospel group and would put chills up my spine with this song.

    • profile image

      LadyDuck 4 years ago

      A true inspirating lens; people should stop running and remember that God is everything.

    • VspaBotanicals profile image

      VspaBotanicals 4 years ago

      When someone questions their faith, they really need to read this lens.

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 4 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      I absolutely know that Jesus loves me because he works through me and shows me how to be love in a world that isn't always kind.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      A Life without Love isn't much of a Life, I try to Share it as much as Possible, a Little can go a Very long way!

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      As they say "actions speak louder than words". Love is the greatest and only God can show us how to truly love. Stay blessed!

    • Spiderlily321 profile image

      Spiderlily321 5 years ago

      This is a beautiful lens. Thank you for sharing and thank you for commenting on my post in the SquidU forum

    • beaworkathomemom profile image

      beaworkathomemom 5 years ago

      I feel love and blessed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I place God First in everything I do...

    • laporter79 lm profile image

      laporter79 lm 5 years ago

      Thanks for the inspiration