Do you love me?

Blog Bulletin 

Published on: Thursday April 28 2022, 2:18 pm

Simon, son of John, do you love me?

Jesus asks this question three times, echoing Peter’s three denials of Jesus on that terrible night, as he stood in the outer court of the High Priest’s house. Peter’s Galilean accent stood out a mile, and so he was asked, are you one of this man’s followers? In absolute terror, lest he be arrested too, Peter denied it.

It’s easy to be all righteous and say that we would never do that. But I wonder. Faced with that situation, what would I do? Would I boldly shout out that Yes! I am one of Jesus’ followers! Or would I try to hide, and survive til another day, to find out what was going on, and what the best thing to do was. What would I do? What would you do?

And when faced with an extremely challenging situation, and a corresponding escape route, what do we choose?

Jesus is quite clear. “You are my friends if you obey my commands” (Jn 15.14). There’s not a lot of wriggle room in that statement. In responding to his call, in loving and following Jesus, we must also obey him. On the face of it, it’s not that onerous – love one another! But then comes the next bit… “as I have loved you.” That’s far harder, because in Jesus God has loved us unconditionally, regardless of all the usual human barriers of race, language, sexuality, gender, socio-economic status, and all the other categories we try to lump people into.

Simon, son of John, do you love me?

What can Simon say, other than yes, Lord. For that is the truth.

And Jesus brings him back into the fold by asking him to do something – “feed my sheep.”

There is a job and a task for each and every one of us, and the blessing is that God will never ask more of us than we can give, and he will always provide us the resources we need to do the job. After all, when the fishermen came to the shore, Jesus was already there with a fire going, and fish and bread ready to eat (Jn 21.9). They brought more fish, for sure. More than they could eat, enough for the whole community and more! But Jesus has already provided their breakfast, without them even having to ask. For God knows what we have need of, and He will provide.

Jesus meets each of us, and asks, Do you love me? And in recognition of our love for him, he invites us to work with him, in making this world (and our own lives) better. We are not merely passive recipients of grace, but invited by God to work with Him! And when you stop to think about that, it’s actually amazing. A bit like being invited by your favourite celebrity chef or gardener to publicly work with her or him on their programme – but on a cosmic level!

Revd. Talisker

Photo by eberhard  grossgasteiger on Unsplash