25th Question – Do You Love Me?
When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” [John 21:15, bold text added].
It’s a question that should never have to be asked.
A child should never have to ask his parents if they love him. Friends should not have to inquire about it among themselves. It should be readily expressed between spouses. And surely, Jesus should never have to ask it of one of His followers.
Love is the foundation of relationships. It is the essence of God [1 John 4:8] and the characteristic of His true children [John 13:35]. Additionally, Jesus said the “fruit” of human behavior [Matthew 7:20] and spoken words from the “abundance of the heart“ [Luke 6:45] reveal genuine inner status.
With Peter, the question focused on forgiveness and restoration. Christ probed Peter’s heart three times in response to his three denials. Being sovereign, Jesus already knew the answer. He posed it as introspective to the boastful, impulsive disciple. It was a question of commitment—a deep, abiding divine love. At that time, Peter honestly answered with a lower level of fondness and affection. Yet, forgiveness won his heart. “Above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins’” [1 Peter 4:8].
For believers, the question examines our commitment to our Lord and Savior. His love is unconditional and sacrificial. That same “love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” [Romans 5:5]. We love Him because He first loved us [1 John 4:19]. If someone has no love nor demonstrates God’s love, that person does not know God [1 John 4:8]. Lovelessness remains an impossibility for a believer.
However, the intensity of our love may be questionable. When speaking of the woman who anointed His feet and dried them with her hair, Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little” [Luke 7:47].
When the magnitude of what Jesus did for us ignites our hearts, we overflow with heartfelt gratitude, praise, and love. Appropriating His freedom from sin, its penalty, and power is to exude love for Him. May our response to His question ever be a resounding, “Yes, my Jesus, I love You! You are mine and I am Yours!”
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Nate Stevens