Do you love Jesus? If you are a christian, I assume you would respond something like this: “Yes, of course. Why would you ask me?” It may sound like an odd question to you, but in fact it is not. Read the following passage in the Bible?
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.” 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.” 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.” ~ John 21,15-17 ~
There are several ideas about why Peter was hurt when Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him. For now, I would like to challenge you. How would you feel when you would sit with Jesus at the beach and Jesus asks you three times: “Do you love me? Do you truly love me?” Would you respond also be like: “Jesus, my Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Or would you not be so sure, at least the third time Jesus asks you this question, and respond more like this: “Jesus, you know everything. If I would love you, you would know.” While you think about this, consider the following.
How would a woman feel when she finds out that her partner doesn’t really love her, but is only nice to her, because he thinks she is sexy? Or how would a man feel when he finds out that the woman he loves, doesn’t really love him, but only wants to be with him because he is a very rich man? It is not hard to imagine that it hurts when you find out that the person you love, does not truly love you back, but only wants something from you. It may give you the feeling to be taken advantage of and break your heart.
On the other hand, it will be odd if a married couple would not share everything. Imagine that a rich man marries a woman and that she says: “I want to be independent and work for my own money and don’t want to use your money for myself at all.” Or that a man says to his spouse: “I love you for the person you are and not just because I think you are hot, so I don’t want to be intimate with you.” It doesn’t really sound lovely to say such a thing and probably hurts the other person.
I know that these examples are not perfect, of course, but I think you get it by now. Let’s go back to the challenge. Do you truly love Jesus? If you think you love Jesus, is it true love? Do you love Jesus just because he is good or because he is good to you? Do you love Jesus because he is Lord or because he can give you eternal life? Do you love to be with Jesus or do you love Jesus taking care of your needs? Do you love Jesus because it defines the religious people group you belong to or do you love Jesus because he is the King over your life?
Truly loving Jesus is not only about acknowledging Jesus for whom he is. It is also not only loving him for his gift of eternal life or for the gift of the Holy Spirit or any other good gift of Jesus in your life. Truly loving Jesus is sharing your life with Jesus while you acknowledge Jesus as king over your life and accept his good gifts for you in every part of your life. Jesus truly loves you. Jesus loved you before you could love him.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.” ~ John 15,12-13 ~
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possible dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~ Romans 5,6-8 ~
God bless you!