“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
Love and Service
(Please read John 21:15-18)
This was Jesus’ third appearance to his disciples after his resurrection, on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Seven of them had gone fishing, and they found Jesus waiting on the shore when they returned. After Jesus had provided a miraculous catch of fish for them, they had a breakfast of bread and fish with him.
Then Jesus had a question for Peter. Three times he asked him, “Do you love me?” And after each of Peter’s answers, He told Peter something to do: “Tend My lambs. . . . Shepherd My sheep. . . . Tend My sheep” (NASB). Peter doubtless thought often of this commission from the Lord when he was serving as an elder (a shepherd) in the Lord’s church (see 1 Peter 5:1).
This episode might be regarded as a lesson for elders, which it is, but it is also relevant for all of us, because all are commissioned by him to serve. Love and service go together. “If you love Me,” he said, “you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15, NASB). Love for Christ will translate into love for our brothers and sisters in Christ, for lost souls in the world, and even for ourselves as we realize that Christ died for us and we are therefore very important to him. Someone described this three-sided love this way:
J – Jesus first
O – Others second
Y – Yourself last
May Jesus’ question to Peter burn in our hearts and demand an answer every day, so that we will every day make conscious decisions to bring our service up to the level of the love we profess to have.