One of the most powerful questions that Jesus ever asked was, “Do you love Me?” The question alone should require a person to either embrace or deny the Lord, but when Jesus asked this question of Peter, it did even more.
Before Jesus’ death on the cross, Peter boldly denied any association with Him. Just as Jesus prophesied, Peter denied Him three times before hearing a rooster crow. In Matthew 26:75, we read that upon hearing that rooster, “Peter remembered” what Jesus had said, “And he went out and wept bitterly.” Peter was distraught, as he did something he thought he would never do in that terrifying moment.
After Jesus’ death on the cross and just before His ascension into heaven, He appeared to His disciples and even prepared breakfast. After the meal, Jesus began asking Peter, “Do you love Me?” and asked that question three times. (John 21:15-17)
Jesus demonstrated that He wanted Peter to repent. He wasn’t bitter or angry with Peter, and He wasn’t holding a grudge or looking forward to shaming Peter in front of his friends; Jesus wanted Peter to repent.
Jesus demonstrated that He wanted Peter to commit. Each time Peter answered, Jesus followed up with instructions, “Tend My Lambs, Shepherd My sheep, Tend My sheep.” He made it clear that loving Him requires commitment. There is much to do!
Jesus demonstrated that He wanted Peter’s love in return. Of course, Jesus knew the answer before each question was asked, but His questions reveal how much He desired Peter’s love.
Are we willing to do what Peter did? Are we willing to repent of sin in our lives no matter how secret or shameful it might be? Are we ready to commit to doing whatever work or command the Lord requires of us? Are we willing to love Jesus in the way that He first loved us?