The Follow-Up

Text: John 21:17
[Jesus] said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep. (NRSV)

Jesus asks the question, “Do you love me?” and I believe for 99% of Christians the answer rolls off of our tongues pretty easily; “Yes Lord, I love you.”.  But are we ready for the follow-up command that always comes?  Are we ready to act in the ways that confirms our love of Jesus?

It is easy to form the words and even say them out loud.  It is sometimes harder to live our love for Jesus.  In this case, Jesus follow-up command for Peter was to feed Jesus’ sheep.  Peter was being called to care for those whom Jesus came to save and to tend.  What is Jesus’ follow-up command for you?  How has Jesus called you to respond to his love for you and your love for him?

In the fourteenth chapter of this same Gospel, Jesus tells the disciples “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (ESV).  This is the baseline of living out our love for Jesus.  This is the very lowest level of action.  We will at least keep Jesus’ commandments if our answer to Jesus' question is, “Yes Lord, I love you.”.

Jesus also tells us what keeping his commandments means.  Jesus tells us that loving God with all that we are and our neighbor as our selves is keeping his commandments (see Matthew 22:34-40).  John tells us that keeping these commandments is not a burden; “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3).  In fact, it is in keeping the commands of Jesus that we find the true joy of life because we are finally living in the way we were intended to live when we were created by God.

Jesus is asking the question in every moment of our life, “Do you love me?”.  What is your answer to that question?  And if your answer is yes, what is Jesus’ follow-up command for you personally?  You already know that it is at least keeping his commandments.  But is Jesus calling you to more?  Is Jesus calling you to a specific task in your current circumstances?  Only you know the answer to that question.

Pray with me:

Jesus, know that I love you with all that I am.  Fill me with the gift of the Holy Spirit that I might always live out that love and that I might understand your follow-up command for me in each circumstance of my life.  AMEN.

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