15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
“Do you love Me?” Many times I read this passage like you would read a book. I know the backstory: Peter has betrayed Jesus, denying Him three times. It’s easy to read this passage as simply just Christ speaking directly to Peter – in this situation, talking about what had happened earlier.
But Christ is speaking to me, “David… do you love Me?” Christ as me this question in the midst of my own sin. And I answer like Peter, “yes, LORD, You know I do…” But God presses in a second… a third... time… “Do you love Me?” This really sinks in. I don’t ACT as if I love God. I back bite. I follow after my sinful desires. I fall into sin. Christ asked this of Peter in love, not seeking to hurt him. He asks the same of us, and even offers the Holy Spirit to guide and protect us!
Thanks be to God who is greater than any, and all, of my sin!