Jesus could ask such probing questions – questions that forced his disciples to look deep within themselves and examine their motives. His questions still do the same to us when we consider them in our lives!
Simon Peter had denied the Lord three time before Jesus had been crucified. He had been the one who told his fellow disciples, “I’m going fishing!” either out of boredom, disappointment or frustration (see yesterday’s “coffee with the Lord” post). Jesus had performed a wonderful miracle for his disciples and fixed breakfast for them. Now, the breakfast was over and Jesus had a probing question for Peter…
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” (John 21:15)
Now there’s debate about what Jesus meant by the pronoun “these”… Jesus could have meant, “Do you love me more than these guys (your colleagues and friends)?” Or He might have meant, “Do you love me more than the fishing (your old profession before you began to follow Jesus)?” Or Jesus might have meant, “Do you love me more than these other followers of mine love me?”
So the discussion goes like this: Which possibility best fits the context? (I do have an opinion but I’m not going share it today). But I have to tell you, I wonder if this is not a case of “purposeful ambiguity” – something we sometimes find in the Bible. In that case the effect of what Jesus asked would be, “Peter, look deep inside! What do you love that is greater than your love for Me? (I mean, Jesus asked the “love question” three times – it’s an important question!)
A probing question don’t you think? As a follower of Jesus – one who has experienced His miracle-working power and His incredible love – what might I love more than Jesus? What might displace, drain away or dilute my love for Him? What might keep from doing His will and “feeding His sheep (or lambs)”? Yup, good question! You see, anything of significance that we do for the Lord must be “love motivated – love driven”