The Risen Jesus Questioning Peter's Love
John 21:15-17
So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me more than these? He said to him, Yes…

I. We gather from OUR LORD'S INQUIRY —

1. That He takes pleasure in the love of His people towards Him and in their avowal of it. And herein He discovers His human nature. We are all conscious that whenever we have real affection towards any object, we desire the same affection towards ourselves, and are gratified by any manifestation of it. Jonathan shared in this feeling. Now our Lord's heart is, in all sinless things, like ours. He found gratification there, not only in Peter's love, but in these reiterated assurances.

2. That Christ has now a special claim on our love. Previously to His final sufferings and death, He does not appear to have ever put this question. But when for their sakes He had gone to Calvary He felt and acted like one who had now earned a claim on a sinner's affection, and such a claim as even a sinner's heart could not resist. Place the cross in whatever light we may, there is no exaggerating its importance or its power. As the basis of love nothing even in heaven is like it.

3. That real love for Christ is of the very utmost importance to us. Love is nothing more than a feeling. Its importance arises from the place it holds in the mind, and the influence it exercises over every other feeling, thought, and movement. No wonder, therefore, that when Christ brings a sinner to His feet, the first thing He asks him for is his heart; one of the first things He takes is his love. Love for Him is not an ornament; it is religion itself, its foundation, its spring, its strength, its perfection, its glory.

4. That our love for Christ is sometimes questionable and ought to be questioned.

II. THE ANSWER WHICH PETER GAVE TO THE INQUIRY. From this we infer at once that it is a question which maybe answered. Thrice said Christ to Peter, "Lovest thou Me?" and thrice Peter answered with promptitude and firmness that he did love Him. How then, under similar circumstances, may we come to a similar answer? We love Christ —

1. When we mourn bitterly for our sins against Him. Nothing pains a feeling heart more than to offend causelessly a heart it loves. Forgiveness cannot wear our pain away, kindness cannot dissipate it; they sometimes rather aggravate than remove it.

2. When we are especially on our guard against a repetition of those sins wherewith we have dishonoured Him.

3. When no sin, no sorrow on account of sin, no state of mind whatsoever can keep us from His feet.

(C. Bradley, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

WEB: So when they had eaten their breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I have affection for you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."

The Realm of Love the Sphere of Religion
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