Lovest Thou Me? Part 2

John 21  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 4
Listen from:
John 21
O, look at this scene: He who, as God, created all things, comes and takes, and gives them! Do you thus know God in Christ? He, who had loved them, and died for their sins, could not cease to love them. Can He cease to love us? But do you think that fire of coals made poor Peter feel uncomfortable? I should not wonder but it did.
Does the remembrance of your sins, though you have repented, still make you feel uncomfortable, even in the presence of such infinite love? I should not wonder but it does. O, it is terrible to have sat with the world that hates Jesus—to have denied Him thrice.
Do not forget, however, to notice, Jesus did not impute their sin unto them; no, He had borne it on the cross. He had put away all that hindered God meeting them in perfect grace. It was so for them; it is so for us who believe through their word. But still, Jesus knew Peter far better than he knew himself; did He not? No doubt Peter had had this thought: “I belong to Jesus, I believe on Him the Christ of God. These Pharisees and priests, yea, and even these my brethren, may deny Him, but I will never;” and immediately Satan suggested thoughts of superiority.
Now, brethren, be honest; has there not been something like this, nay, the very thing itself, among the children of God? Have we not said in the secret of our hearts, though all sects and denominations and churches of men deny Christ as Lord, yet will not we? Can anything be more offensive to our blessed Lord than, Peter-like, such airs of superiority? Well, He who knew that state of Peter’s heart, also knows our state; and the same question is equally applicable to him and to us.
“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these?” He said, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love Thee” (or, I am attached to Thee).
This was indeed true, while, in humility and truth, he could not fully respond to the Lord’s question. Yet he was attached to Christ. Can we even say so? Are we detached from all that is of man? Can we say that we are attached to the Lord Jesus only? We may be even so: and, if so, the Lord’s word is “Feed My lambs.” Thrice had Peter denied his Lord, and now thrice, beside this fire of coals, with the proofs of Jesus’ everlasting love, the question is put to him, to fit him to be the shepherd and feeder of Christ’s lambs and sheep. A second time Peter says,
“Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I am attached to Thee.”
“He said unto him, Shepherd My sheep.” And now Jesus alters the form of question,
“Art thou attached to Me?” Peter was grieved at this. What a searching question! Does it grieve us? Poor feeble, failing things as we are. Yet is it not true that He has separated us to Himself? Can we say,
“Lord, Thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I am attached to Thee”?
“Jesus says to him Feed My sheep.”
Thus was Peter fitted to feed the sheep of Christ by the deep sense of his own failure. He was turned from dependence on himself and his own resolutions. All thoughts of self-superiority must be leveled, before he or we can be fitted to serve the Lord, and to feed His sheep.
Now, though this wondrous display of the Lord took place a few days after His resurrection, yet it was recorded by the Holy Ghost after all the failure had come in. Men had arisen of themselves, speaking perverse things, to lead away disciples after them. In short, all had come in that grieves our hearts at this moment. Yet Jesus thus showed Himself. Some may be persuaded to get into their own boat, and, while toiling all night, and catching nothing, may be tempted to say, It is all over, we have all failed, and there can be no more testimony.
Come away, beloved brethren, from such gloomy thoughts; cast the net on the right side of the ship. Is not Jesus still the same? It is not enough to take the place of attachment to Him. He says, “Lovest thou Me?” “Feed My sheep.”
Some of us have seen a great draft of souls taken of late, and the net is not broken. And if we love the Lord, let that love be shown in feeding, as we have opportunity, the whole flock of God. Did He not love the Church, and give Himself for it? Then surely He cannot cease to love it. He says, “Come and dine.” Let us, then, gather to Him on the shore. He wants our heart’s love; and He wants us to be in the current of His love to the lambs and sheep of His flock. And when proud thoughts of superiority would intrude, may we remember the words of Jesus,
“Lovest thou Me more than these?”
There were just two things more. A Peter might be called to glorify Christ in death, and a John might remain until He comes. It is exactly so now. One may be called away to be with the Lord; another may remain until He comes. One thing is certain He changes not. All things may change, He changes not. We may toil in Peter’s boat, and get discouraged. His eye is on us all the night. And to think, the morning breaks. Soon we shall see His face. Forever with the Lord.
(Continued from page 222)