LOVE ME MORE: Than these?
Jesus asked, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these” (Jn.21: 15)? What was it all about? It was about leadership. Jesus was drilling the man who was to lead His disciples. This kind of leader required much more than average love or friendship. Jesus was very deliberate that Peter showed before the others that they could depend on him. Jesus could not depend on Peter, how could the others? Yes, he had denied the Lord, but he also followed and repented. Where were the others? Then, what was hindering Peter from giving Jesus a straight answer when Jesus wanted to know twice whether he loved (agape) Him? Instead, Peter mumbled about being Jesus’ friend (phileo). The third time, Jesus accepted Peter’s offer of being a true friend and capable of leading the small group.
Why did Jesus want more love and friendship from Peter than from the others? Why drill him on love and friendship? In fact, Jesus picked on Peter when he told him that he would be the cornerstone of His Kingdom. When Peter’s ego grew a little, Jesus told him that Satan was nibbling at his ego and required prayer. At the last supper, Jesus spoke that someone would betray Him and Peter could not stop bragging about his courage and loyalty. Jesus also told him to secure a sword and who but Peter struck the servant. After all this, Peter did not appear to know what Jesus needed him for. Even after the resurrection, Jesus had to fetch Peter again from fishing for fish. And when Jesus put him in charge, he still competed for Jesus’ affection with John (Jn.21: 21). For Jesus’ mission to succeed Peter had to have more love and friendship for his Lord than these.
What was it and still is all about? It was a hard lesson on what it meant to be a leader when what the leader represented was a crime. It was Peter that faced the Sanhedrin and told the Jewish leaders that they had to obey God (Ac.5: 29). Peter was also very fortunate to have the disciple whom Jesus loved at his side (Jn.21: 7). We too live at a time when confessing Jesus in public is becoming a crime. How much more love and friendship for Christ shall we need to obey God rather that men? The way the scales are being set to balance against Christ our Lord and Savior is a strong indicator that we have forsaken our first love (Rev.2: 4).