Lovest Thou Me More Than These?

John 21:15] So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
[16] He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
[17] He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Oftentimes, it is wondered, why did the Lord Jesus Christ ask Peter three times “lovest thou me.” In John 16, the Lord stated that they loved Him, but in chapter 21, He asked Peter three times does he love Him. The “love” that the Lord was referring to, was the “greater love” that He taught them in His earthly Ministry, and He showed them by His selflessness, how One would “lay down their life” for their loved ones. And there are many aspects of love itself, someone could love someone, but not enough to ‘lay down their own life’ for them. The Lord educated His Apostles in the selfless love that He and His Father both operate upon. And when He said, “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This “greater love” is what the Lord asked of Peter when He asked does he love Him “more than” the fish that would feed him.

John 16:27] For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

Matt.10:37] He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

[38] And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

[39] He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Therefore, it is the question of ‘how much love’ does one have in their heart for someone who they have given their heart unto. The Apostles were taught of the Lord’s selfless love, Peter and the Apostles acknowledged that they knew what ‘type of love’ the Lord desired that they operate upon when they said in Matthew chapter 26, “though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.” They all said that they loved the Lord ‘more than’ their own lives, but this was not the case, they knew that a ‘true friend’ would lay down his life for his friend. And any other response other then ‘losing their life’ for His “sake” would be denying Him. And in Matthew chapter 10, the Lord placed before the eyes of the Apostles all those of his own household, knowing that a man would give up of himself for those of whom he loves. And the Lord gave them to understand that if they of your own household denies Him and will not follow Him, they are to ‘draw the line in the sand,’ so to speak.

Luke 16:13] No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

John 10:15] As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

[16] And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

[17] Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

The Apostles knew Who they were to “serve,” they also were educated in what this ‘service’ consisted of. The Lord used Himself as an example to the Apostles while He was alive on the earth, and that was He laid down His life, but He had not physically died yet. His selfless sacrifice of love was displayed throughout His earthly Ministry, and they were to “follow” Him, and the love that the Lord possess. In the verses below, the Lord gave unto them a “new commandment,” that they love each other, but also the Father as Christ also loves the Father. Did they ‘have to’ do this commandment? We see before the night was finished, there was a “strife among them,” this sanctifying commandment was a ‘command to holiness,’ and because the Lord is Holy and operates upon selflessness, they too ought to be holy and Selfless.

Eph.5:1] Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

[2] And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Furthermore, the Lord wanted the Apostles to operate upon His selfless love after His death, they were fishing through the night, and not preaching the Lord! This is why the Lord questioned their love for Him, if they love Him more than anything else, they would have been ‘feeding His sheep’, and not feeding themselves. We too are beseeched to be a “living sacrifice,” and to “walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us.” And that is an identity likened to Christ Jesus Himself, and His selfless sacrifice as we see in the verses above. But notice in verse 1, we are first beseeched to be followers of God, the Father also sacrificed His own Son who ‘knew no sin’ for us, and in both verses, our walk “in love,” must be in the likeness of their love. This is the type of love that we are beseeched to walk in and no other type of love can compare to this selfless love.

Phil.1:9] And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment

Phil.2:[1] If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

[2] Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

3] Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

4] Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

[5] Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Our love ought to “abound yet more and more” unto their selfless love, but it begins with our possessing a “Spiritual mind,” and that is being educated in the doctrine which is according to godliness and operating upon the mind of Christ. And this Spiritual mind becomes “rooted and grounded in love,” and the love of Christ abounds as we grow, and increase in the knowledge of His selfless love. And not “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God,” but as Paul said in the verses above, the selfless love of Christ has the ability to “abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment.” But it is the faithful Saints who will be the living sacrifice their Father called them to be as “sons.” Peter and the Apostles had not learned the “love of Christ” in John 21, they truly loved Him, but not enough to forgo fishing, and be a “fisher of men,” and to feed the Lord’s sheep. We too are to allow the word, and the love of Christ in our hearts by faith, and to truly know the love of Christ, and love Him “more than” our life itself, seeing that He gave His life for us, and gave us life eternal in the heavens, and life as faithful sons who will be a living sacrifice for His sake.

Eph.3:16] That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

17] That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

18] May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

19] And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

[20] Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Rod Jones

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s