Why Did the Lord Jesus Ask Peter Three Times – Reflection on John 21:16
He said to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you Me? He said to Him, Yes, Lord; You know that I love You. He said to him, Feed My sheep. - John 21:16
Every time when I read these verses, I would mull: Why did theask Peter three times in a row, “Love you me?” What did He want to tell us through these questions? Later, I found the answer in a spiritual book and became somewhat clear about God’s will. It says in the book, “In this conversation, the Lord Jesus repeatedly asked Peter one thing: ‘Peter, love you me?’ This is a higher standard the Lord Jesus required from people like Peter after His resurrection, who truly believe in and strive to love the Lord. This question was a sort of investigation, and a sort of interrogation, but even more, it was a requirement and an expectation of people like Peter. He used this method of questioning so that people would reflect on themselves and look into themselves: What are the Lord Jesus’ requirements for people? Do I love the Lord? Am I a person who loves God? How should I love God? Even though the Lord Jesus only asked this question of Peter, the truth is that in His heart, He wanted to use this opportunity of asking Peter to ask this type of question of more people who seek to love God. It is only that Peter was blessed to act as the representative of this type of person, to receive questioning from the Lord Jesus’ own mouth. … This was a thought-provoking, meaningful question that can’t help but make every follower of Christ feel remorse, and fear, but also feel the Lord Jesus’ anxious, sorrowful mood. And when they are in great pain and suffering, they are more able to understand the Lord ’s concern and His care; they realize His earnest teaching and strict requirements of pure, honest people. The Lord Jesus’ question allows people to feel that the Lord’s expectations of people revealed in these simple words are not merely to believe in and follow Him, but to achieve having love, loving your Lord, loving your God. This kind of love is caring and obeying. It is humans living for God, dying for God, dedicating everything to God, and expending and giving everything for God. This kind of love is also giving God comfort, allowing Him to enjoy witness, and allowing Him to be at rest. It is mankind’s repayment to God, their responsibility, obligation and duty, and it is a way that mankind must follow for their entire lives. These three questions were a requirement and an exhortation the Lord Jesus made of Peter and all people who would be made perfect. It was these three questions that led and motivated Peter to complete his path in life, and it was the questions at the Lord Jesus’ parting that led Peter to start on his path of being made perfect, that led him, because of his love for the Lord, to care for the Lord’s heart, to obey the Lord, to offer comfort to the Lord, and to offer up his whole life and his whole being because of this love.”
After reading these words, I knew the word “Love you me?” that the Lord Jesus asked Peter three times is too meaningful. It contains God’s expectations of man: In God’s heart, He doesn’t only want to gain people who believe in and follow God but expects to get man’s love of Him and man’s heart that truly loves Him. In God’s eyes, it is the most precious that man has a God-loving heart. So, God asked Peter three times, “Love you me?” God’s will is that He hopes all those who truly follow Him can pursue to be a person like Peter and can achieve to love God. I couldn’t help considering: Do I have love for God? Many times I said I would seek to love God, but in reality I usually made deals with God for the sake of my own interests, and demanded God’s blessings for my small sacrifices, and so on.
Compared to God’s requirements, I have a long way to go. But I’m willing to come before God to pray, read more of His words, seeking the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit and understanding the requirements and will of God, and practice according to His words in my life and work. Hope that one day I can satisfy Him and comfort His heart.