Wesley Word – April 27, 2022
To go along with service on: Sunday, May 1st
Do You Love Him?
In this week’s text, Jesus appears to the disciples for the third time, the fourth time if we count his appearance to Mary Magdalene in the garden.
Peter announced to the group, “I am going fishing.” Peter was a fisherman by trade, so when Peter said he was going fishing, he did not mean he was going to take the afternoon off. He meant he was returning to his trade, returning to his old, pre-Jesus life, in the hopes to get back to “normal.” Jesus, of course, has other plans.
This passage is sometimes called, “The Restoration of Peter,” because Peter had denied even knowing Jesus three times on the night of his arrest. In a scene that almost completely duplicates Jesus’ first call of Peter in Luke 5:1-11, down to the miraculous catch of fish, Jesus renews Peter’s calling.
Next, Jesus leads Peter through a three-fold reaffirmation of his love for Jesus, three-fold because Peter had denied him three times. Jesus asks, “Simon, son of John (Jesus uses Peter’s old name to indicate he is starting over.), do you love me more than these?”. A hot debate among Bible scholars is what did Jesus mean by “these.” Did he mean, do you love me more than these other disciples love me, or do you love me more than you love the other disciples, or do you love me more than your boat and tackle and all the stuff of your old life? The fact is we do not know; the text does not tell us. I would put my vote in for all of the above. Jesus’ call to love is to love him more than everything else, even more than our families. (Luke 14:26 and others) When Peter says he does, Jesus says, “Feed my lambs.”
This process repeats twice more with Jesus asking if Peter loves him, Peter saying that he does, and Jesus saying, “Take care of (shepherd, pastor) my sheep.” “Feed my sheep.”
Some Bible scholars have pointed out that in the first two instances Jesus asks Peter if he agapes him and Peter responds that he phileos him. In the third round, phileo is used both times. While agape and phileo do carry different meanings and those differences are important in distinguishing the way we love God and others, most scholars think John simply uses them interchangeably here. The same can be said for the use of feed/tend and lambs/sheep; they are simply different words used to say the same thing.
The point of this story is Peter being forgiven and restored. The point for us is that truly loving Jesus is going to require loving him more than everything else, obeying his commandments, and serving his people. Loving Jesus may even require, as Jesus said it would for Peter, giving up our lives. So, the question for us is, “Do you love him?”
Question for Reflection/Discussion:
- If Jesus asked you, “Do you love me more than these?” What might be the “these” for you? What would your answer be?
New Testament in a Year: https://wesleyonline.org/biblereading/
- April 27 Luke 23:13-43
- April 28 Luke 23:44-24:12
- April 29 Luke 24:13-53
- April 30 John 1:1-28
- May 1 John 1:29-51
- May 2 John 2:1-25
- May 3 John 3:1-21
- May 4 John 3:22-4:3
Expressing Love: Family/Mission Activity
Thank you- Make or purchase some blank thank-you notes. Talk about how much Jesus loves us and how we know (Jesus dying on the cross, name blessings He’s provided, living forever with Him, etc.). When you have talked about how we know Jesus loves us, have everyone write a thank-you note to Jesus for all the ways he shows us love (it might be words instead of pictures for very young children). You might encourage everyone to keep this thank-you note in their Bible as a constant reminder of all we have to give Jesus thanks for. End by discussing how we can also show Jesus our thanks (by following his commandments-talk about what they are, serving others, and putting Jesus first in our lives).
Muscatine Youth, Children’s, and Littlest Angels Choirs Spring Concert – Sunday, May 8, at 4:00 pm.
Senior Recognition, May 15 – Wesley seniors will be recognized at whichever service they attend. Contact the office with graduation information.
Early Bird WOW, Wednesday, May 18, 11:00 am at the Wesley Family Life Center – Learn to make a porch pot with Kay Walter, Master Gardener. A meal will follow. $5 suggested donation. Call to reserve by Monday, May 16.