As Christians we always know and say that we love God. We confess our love to Him through words and actions– we go to church, read Bible, listen to sermons, give charities in His name, and pray–all as ways of expressing our love and devotion for Christ. We say we want to devote our life to glorify God because we love Him. And many of us, especially young Christians, are inspired to become success in the secular world because we are told to become the Light and the Salt of the world. So we are driven to become the best in our work fields.
Simon Peter, a disciple of Christ, was probably just like us– always confessing his love for Jesus. Peter even left his wife and children to do the work of Christ. But one day Christ approached Peter and challenged his love. He asked Peter if he loved Him. Peter answered that he did and that Christ knew of it. Then Jesus told him to “feed My lambs.”
Here, I found it to be strange that Christ had asked Peter to feed His lambs when Peter was doing His work all along. Soon for a second time, Jesus asked Peter again if he loved Him. Peter repeated the answer that he loved Christ and that He knew of it. Jesus again replied, “tend My sheep”.
When Jesus again asked Peter if he loved Him for the third time, Peter is hurt because Jesus had asked and doubted his love for Him three times. Grieved, Peter told Christ that He knew all things and that He knew his genuine love for Him. Christ then told Peter to “feed My sheep.” Jesus indeed knows that Peter loves Him with all of his heart. What is Jesus really trying to tell Peter here?
In the following verse, Jesus reminded Peter of his past and said that when he was younger, he had the control of his life and lived by his own will. But when he is old, he would have to do things he would not wish to do and be carried to places where he would not wish to go. Jesus finally told Peter to “follow Me.” The question here is for us: “Can you still follow Him?”
I often mistake loving Christ with loving the glorious promise that’s sealed within believing in Him. We often ask God to give us a glorious life so that we can glorify Him. I have never asked Him to give me a difficult life so I can glorify Him. But what Jesus tells us through the above Scripture is different; loving Him would require us to walk the path that we often wish not to go.
Can we still love Him? Can we still follow Him? Will you stop feeding and tending your own dreams and wishes, and start feeding and tending His sheep? Will you give up the control of your life and really obey and live by His will?
Jesus asks us again today, “Do you love Me?”
What is your answer?
*A daily reflection from Rev. Goshen Choi’s sermon 9/22/2013