Rev. Dr. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew, J.D., M.Div. - Kingdom Builder - Visionary Strategist - Inspirational Writer
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Do you Love Me... until DEATH do you part? - John 21:15-18

 
Do you Love Me... until DEATH do you part?
 
John 21:15-18
 
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. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
 
 
 
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Greetings!
 
BlogFam, Do you remember the days when you were a kid and you would write or receive a note from a potential suitor and the note read something like this?
 
DO YOU LIKE/LOVE ME? CHECK/CIRCLE YES or NO or MAYBE
 
I am smiling as I write this because those notes were so uncomplicated and so innocent and so real which is so not like the way things are when you get past elementary school and you are trying to navigate the twists and turns of relationships.  I will save further discussion about relationships for another blog series but I had to at least mention this to get your mind in gear for today’s reflection. 
 
 
 
In our scripture for today, Jesus basically sends his disciple, Peter, a note asking him to declare the depth of his love for Jesus and the extent of his commitment to the ministry that he is being called to do. However, unlike the indirect confrontation of passing a note to your potential special friend, Jesus directly confronts Peter in a conversation that I am sure he never forgot.
 
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter,
“Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
 
Let us stop right here.  Jesus does not simply ask Peter in this first question if Peter loves Him. He asks Peter does he love him MORE than “these.”  These, being the fish he had just caught, and some of which Jesus had just prepared for their breakfast.  Peter, do you love me MORE than these – more than these fish that represent who you have been your whole life as a fisherman?  Peter, do you love me MORE than these – more than the income that is pretty much guaranteed if you were to continue in this profession?  Peter, do you love me MORE than these – more than the lifestyle you have grown accustomed to, MORE than the people with whom you have lived and worked, MORE than the goals and dreams you have set for yourself as a star fisherman?  Peter, do you love me MORE than these?
 
“Yes, Lord,”he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said,“Feed my lambs.”
 
And I think Peter gave Jesus a blank stare as he began to think about how he could possibly do both, and. As Peter began to think about how he could continue to be a fisherman and serve in ministry as well.  Peter began to think about how he could fish for himself and feed the lambs of Jesus.  And Jesus interrupts Peter’s thoughts -
 
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
 
And Peter is now wondering why is Jesus asking me these questions?  I thought we had gotten past me cutting off the soldier’s ear.  I thought we had moved past my denying him three times.  I thought Jesus was over me and the rest of the disciples deserting him at the cross.  I will say it again so that He is sure.
 
He answered,“Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said,“Take care of my sheep.”
 
OK. So, now I can only imagine that Peter is getting puzzled, possibly frustrated and the intensity of Jesus conversation with him is building.  Peter thinks - Jesus does not only want me to feed the lambs but to take care of His sheep. How in the world am I going to fish for myself, feed the lambs of Jesus and take care of His sheep?  I told Jesus that I love Him and now he is asking me and telling me to do more – to feed AND to care. 
 
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
 
And NOW 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.”
 
But with these words the conversation was beginning to sink in.  Jesus was not simply asking Peter about His love for Him.  Jesus knew that Peter loved Him.  Jesus was not merely asking if Peter would serve Him.  Jesus knew that Peter would serve Him.  In this moment, I believe that Jesus was calling Peter to give and to express a love he had never known.  Jesus was asking Peter to give up his life – not just his livelihood - for Him. Peter, do you love me until death do you part?
 
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
 
Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.
 
This conversation was not to give Jesus an assurance of Peter’s love for Him. NO!   This conversation was to clarify the call upon Peter’s life to love and to serve, to feed and to care, to live and to die for the glory of God.
 
Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
 
My sistas and brothas, when we would give or receive those notes:
 
DO YOU LIKE/LOVE ME? CHECK/CIRCLE YES or NO or MAYBE
 
We cherished the option of MAYBE.  Maybe was a safe place to be.  It wasn’t Yes.  And it wasn’t No.  It was Maybe. Maybe was hopeful that a relationship was possible.  Maybe was buying us time to figure out if we really wanted to go there.  Maybe was no pressure on either side.  We may have had more questions but at least the answer wasn’t yet No.
 
My friends, a life fully committed to Jesus does not include the option of Maybe.  You MUST check Yes OR No.  Yes I am a disciple and I will feed and care for my neighbor OR No, I am not a disciple and I will not feed or care for my neighbor. 
 
Jesus asks Peter, and those of us who say we love Jesus –
 
Do you love me MORE than these?  YES or NO.
 
Do you love ME?  YES or NO.
 
Do you love me until death do you part?  YES or NO.
 
If your answer is YES, then know that your call is the same as Jesus said unto Peter, Feed the Lambs, take care of the sheep, and FOLLOW ME.
 
If your answer is NO, then it is NO.  Maybe is NOT an option.
 
Let us pray...
Holy One, on today I pray for my sistas and brothas who do not love you.  I pray for those who love you but are resisting the call to feed and to care for others.  I pray for those who are waiting to respond to your call.  Lord, give us all the courage to say YES we love you.  Give us the courage to respond to your great love for us - to love and to serve, to feed and to care, to live and to die for the glory of God.  IN JESUS NAME, I pray... AMEN.
 
 
God Loves You and I do too!
Delesslyn
Twitter - @AudraSunshine
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P.S. - BlogFam, I NEED your prayers and support - KIDS KORNER Radio program - It is a moment to spotlight the children and youth [and youth ministers] of our community! PLEASE tune in ONLINE at http://www.wigoam.com at 5:15pm EVERY SUNDAY AND let me know you are listening!!! Also, VISIT us at www.facebook.com/kidskornerradio OR shoot us an EMAIL at kidskornerradio@gmail.com if you have any suggestions for guests, topics, or would like to be a sponsor! [sponsorships are only $25]
 
 
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