An Under-Shepherd's Great Necessity
John 21:15
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…

Reasons based on previous experiences of Peter will at once suggest themselves as explaining why the question of Jesus was addressed to Peter rather than another disciple. But the best reason of all is that Jesus knows best whom to ask, and. when. There was need why Peter should be especially addressed; but the other listeners were not shut out. Love to Jesus was as much a necessity and a duty to the other six as to Peter.

I. LOOK AT THE QUESTION IN THE LIGHT OF THE "THOU," "Lovest thou me?" Jesus addressed no stranger, no occasional acquaintance, but the constant companion and servant over a very considerable time. Jesus cannot come to a stranger with this question. But who of us should be able to plead the stranger's plea? Have we not heard the forerunner's voice, "Repent"? Have we not heard the Master's voice, "Follow me"? What a solemn reminder this question contains of the headway some of us may have to make up! It is very plain that such a question must be preceded by dealings leading up to love. A mother can say, "Lovest thou me?" to a child that never remembers the time when that mother's face was not the most familiar object. But the same woman cannot say to a strange child, on her very first meeting with it, "Lovest thou me?" She will have to do something before love can spring up. If we have not had experiences of repenting and of endeavoring to follow Jesus, it is vain for us to listen and wait, as if love to Jesus would spring up mysteriously without apparent cause.

II. LOOK AT THE QUESTION IN THE LIGHT OF THE "ME." In a few days Peter will have entered on a new and momentous chapter of life, where everything will depend on the completeness of his devotion to Jesus. He will not be of the slightest use if he is to be a man of divided interests and fluctuating attachments. He is to be a shepherd of the flock of Jesus, and it will take all his energy and all his care. The comparison is ever being instituted between the claims of Jesus and the claims of self. Jesus must be first and last, and all that lies between. If Jesus is just to tinge our lives with a superficial influence, and modify our selfishness a little, we shall do little indeed for his sheep. Why should we serve the world by candlelight when we can do it by sunlight? why by twilight, when we can do it by noonday? We are bound to do our very best for men, and we can only do it by being servants of Jesus. We do more than others, because we are able to do more.

III. LOOK AT THE QUESTION IN THE LIGHT OF THE "LOVEST." The feeling of love is seed and soft to everything else. Love binds the "thou" and the "me" together. Mere admiration of Jesus will do nothing. The love of Jesus is the only effectual fountain to wash away the selfishness continually rising in our hearts, and especially will the love of Jesus keep us from becoming weary of loving the loveless. The sin-stricken life, the heart polluted with evil thoughts and affections, needs love. Yet love is what such a life too often falls to get. We fall most naturally into speaking angrily and contemptuously of bad people. But a heart full of living love to Jesus, with him ever in observation, will love and pity the wicked far more than be angry with them. Whatever other good qualities we possess, love to Jesus must crown them. If only we can respond fully to this question of Jesus, we shall escape many an irritating thought, many a vexatious brooding over the meanness and duplicities of mankind. - Y.

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."

Lovest Thou Me?
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