This week at FCA, we were blessed to have Charlie Buchanan from Greenville, SC. He spoke about the power of questions.
Our lives have become more about where we are placing our affections rather than our intentions. Charlie tells us that questions reveal more about our hearts than answers do. His only question for us: do we love Jesus?
Peter’s Relationship with Christ
In John 21, we see a stressed relationship between Jesus and Peter. Here, Jesus shows us the power of a question. In verses 15 -17, Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?”
John 21:15-17: When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
Prior to this in the book of John, we have gotten to know a fair amount about Peter’s character. Peter is someone who likes to make bold proclamations and typically speaks before he thinks. There is evidence of these notions at the end of John 13.
John 13:38: Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
Peter knows that Jesus is all-knowing, yet when Jesus tells Peter that he will deny him three times, Peter honestly believes that he will not.
Our Relationship with Christ
Charlie reminds us that the early stages of our relationship with Christ are filled with passion and vigor, but at some point, it stalls. Whether it’s a habitual sin or just becoming too busy, we go back to our old way of life. When we are filled with shame, we run from God rather than back into his open arms.
Let us look back to the conflict between Jesus and Peter. In what ways are we exactly like Peter? After Jesus dies, the passion of many of the disciples dies as well. Stricken by guilt, Peter immediately goes out to fish. He returns to his old life as a fisherman.
Language Fails Peter
Returning to John 21, Jesus is on the beach making breakfast for the disciples. When Jesus asks Peter if he loves him, he means in terms of his Godly love in its entirety, or “agape love.” Peter responds with only a brotherly love him for him. Peters words fail him. His actions cannot fulfill his hopes.
Language Fails Us
In English, there is only one word for love, and it so often fails us. Jesus did not ask Peter, “Did you quit cussing, or did you drop your habitual sin?” He asks, “Do you love me?” Now, the question is brought back to us. Jesus asks us solely if we love him because if we do not, none of the other questions matter.
We think we’ve gone too far and lost our salvation, but we must know that we are never outside of his love. It is never too late to return to Christ and all the love that he has to offer. So, the question remains, do you love Jesus?