Do you love me?

It was a bit cooler than normal on the sea of Tiberius. It was calm enough, but a light breeze blew out of the North, and there was a chill in the air. And that wasn’t the only chill. The boys and I were out fishing because we needed some food and we were also hoping to catch enough fish to sell. I have a family and so do some of the others but what really had us chilled was all that had taken place over the last couple of weeks. You see following Jesus has been the most astounding journey any of us have ever taken. We’ve seen things you would not believe! We have seen Jesus put the religious rulers in their place, we’ve seen him heal the blind, and raise the dead. But something has changed .A few days ago Jesus was crucified. He told it would happen, I tried to stop the soldiers from arresting him but Jesus called me Satan and went with them willingly. I suppose what has shamed me the most is that I betrayed him three times, just like he predicted I would.

None of us are sure how it happened or what it means really, but Jesus is alive! He is alive! You might think I’m crazy, but I saw him beaten, I saw him crucified, and I was there when they laid him in the tomb. But he is alive; somehow, the grave could not keep him! Somehow he is here. Oh, yes! We have seen him… and you know what? He is still human. You see the morning after we’d fished all night (and caught nothing) we came near the shore and there he was cooking his breakfast. He told us where to cast the net and we caught a mess of fish like you’ve never seen. The haul was too heavy to pull into the boat. We ate breakfast and laughed together and then Jesus suggested we go for a walk.

Walks usually meant one thing… important conversations. We knew Jesus was going to tell us something that we really needed to hear but I had no idea how important this walk, with Jesus, would be for me.

Jesus looked at me and asked, “Peter, do you love me?” I replied “yes”, and Jesus said, “Feed my lambs” Then Jesus asked me again, “Peter, do you love me?” Again, I answered, “Yes” and Jesus said, “Tend my sheep.” So again, a third time, Jesus asked, “Peter do you love me?” I was a bit hurt but managed, “Yes Lord, you know everything. You know I love you.” So Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

Well what you might not know is that in our language Jesus asked, “Peter do you agape me?” I responded, “I philo you.” A second time Jesus asked, “Do you agape me?” A second time I replied, “I philo you.” Then, the third time Jesus asked me, “Peter do you philo me?” That’s when I said, “Yes Lord you know everything, you know I philo you.”

Tim's Smallie

Tim Brassell’s Smallmouth Bass

You see agape love is love that is pure and complete that comes from the Father and I did not have the capacity to love like the Father so I just said I philo you, which means “I love you with a brotherly love”. We did this same back and forth twice until Jesus, knowing all along that I was not capable of agape love asked, “Peter do you philo me?” and I said, “Yes Lord you know everything, you know I philo you.”

Despite my limited love for him do you know what Jesus said to me each time I confessed my incapacity for agape love? Each time he said, “Feed my lambs, tend my sheep, and feed my sheep.”

What I learned that day is that no matter what we bring to the table Jesus can use it, multiply it, and that Jesus does not want to do his ministry without us no matter our limitations or hang-ups.

That morning I couldn’t help remembering the little boy, who gave up his lunch, so that Jesus could take two small fish and five pieces of bread and use it feed 5000 people.

I’ll venture a guess that what you have to offer the Lord is a bit more than a few fish and loaves but even if that’s all you have jump in, participate, and be amazed at the wonderful miracles Jesus will do through you!


4 comments so far

  1. JoAnn on

    You have a gift for putting the Bible into words and word pictures that we can understand. Mom

  2. billwinn on

    Thanks, Mom! Love you. You are and always have been an important source of encouragement to me!

  3. jkempattnet on

    Very proper lesson. So often we are told that only “our best” will do. Well there is no way that I give my best in most cases. I am so thankful that Jesus loves me when I give Him myself in whatever state I am. I want that to increase but it is He, not me, who will bring the growth. I want to be like the tree planted by the River in Psalm 1. That River brings growth, not the tree.

    • billwinn on

      jkempattnet, what a lovely metaphor you chose! Indeed it is the River of Life that brings growth. Well said.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: