Thursday, December 05, 2013

3 Questions

After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?"

"Yes, Master, you know I love you."

Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."

He then asked a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"

"Yes, Master, you know I love you."

Jesus said, "Shepherd my sheep."

Then he said it a third time: "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"

Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, "Do you love me?" so he answered, "Master, you know everything there is to know. You've got to know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."

John 21:15-17 (The Message)
Does this story make you as nuts as it does me? (Some of you are thinking, "Hey, he just said Scripture makes him nuts! The pastor's gone round the bend!") Seriously, does it get under anyone else's skin that Jesus asks Peter the same question three times?!

And it's not like Peter gets the answer wrong... I mean, "I love you, Jesus" is a good answer to a lot of things!

So what in the world is Jesus doing here? Well, we've got to get into the Wayback Machine with Mr. Peabody & his boy, Sherman, and go to the night of Jesus' crucifixion, where Peter denies Jesus - whadda ya know!? - three times. Three denials + three declarations of love = Done.

Maybe that "mathematical" formula is a bit too simple, though. Jesus' death for our sins paid for Peter's denials, so in one sense, Peter was already taken care of. Which means Jesus wasn't asking Peter the questions so Peter could justify himself.

Then why ask the question? And again? And again?!

Here's my thought - Peter needed this truth drilled through his thick skull: "I know you love me, you Rock-head. I've got a job for you to do - you're going to be making a God-sized dent in Israel & Rome & places you've never even heard of before. But it's going to be way too easy for you to fixate on Good Friday and forget Easter Sunday morning... so let's get that out of the way."

BTW, if you didn't notice, Jesus is doing the same thing with you.

He's calling you to make a God-sized dent, and He's more than willing to remind you over & over (through the Bible, through the church, through fellow Christ-followers) that your past is past and your future is bigger than anyone (but God) can dream.

This post is an oldie but a goodie from 2005... and I made that Wayback Machine reference 8 years before they announced the Mr. Peabody & Sherman movie.

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