by Joe Alain

If You Love Me
Joe Alain
John 21:15-19

What is our purpose in coming to church? For some it may be to visit with friends. For others it serves as an escape from the harsh realities of the world for a few hours, a safe and familiar place. And then others come to gain a greater knowledge of God. All of those things may be present to some degree when we gather, but they are not the primary reason we gather together. The main reason we gather together is to be more conformed to Christ, to look more like Jesus, to grow in love. As we are transformed by God’s grace and grow in love, then our homes and world will be different.

Life Application: We please God not only by what we believe but by what we do.

To explain that truth we will look at an exchange between Jesus and Peter in John 21:15-19. The risen Jesus and the disciples have just shared a meal of fish along the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
After breakfast it was time for a discipleship #101 breakout session with Jesus. Jesus was teaching Peter what it now meant to be a follower of Him. What do you do with all of these folks who are coming into the kingdom (as represented by the great catch of fish in verses 1-14)? The image shifts from fish in verses 1-14 to sheep in verses 15-ff. Sheep of course need guiding. Sheep need feeding. Sheep need caring for. These are more than practical matters, they are deeply spiritual for doing these things is an expression of our love for God. And so Jesus says to ‘‘‘love Me’’’ is to love what I love and I love people.’’

Failure Is Not Final
Three times Jesus questions Peter’s love for him. Why three times? The three times was not coincidental. To answer that question we have to go back to the night Jesus was betrayed and arrested. It was the night of the last supper. The disciples finished the traditional Passover meal and then Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper. After this the disciples went out to the Garden of Gethsemane on the slope of the Mount of Olives. ...

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