A Question and an Answer
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? John 21:17
Read John 21:15-17
The Lord Jesus’ meeting with His disciples around the coals of fire by the Sea of Tiberias is a well-known scene to many of us. It is also a well-liked text for a Confession of Faith service shortly after Easter. The question raised in this episode comes from the Lord Jesus. And the given answer also circles around Him.
This question confronts you today; the Lord looks at you when this question is asked. Perhaps He also started probing you with the same question he directed to Peter, using the highest form of love. Maybe He immediately moved on to the second question because you did not dare to affirm such lofty love. Or, possibly it was because you didn’t dare to affirm this because, just as in Peter’s case, the Lord looked at you. Maybe the Lord had to stoop even lower.
How do you respond to Christ’s question? Are you pained because you do not give Him the love He deserves? Do you lament because you know perfectly well why the Lord questions you the third time regarding the sincerity of your love? Are you inclined to reply, “Lord, Thou knowest all things?” But can you also say before God, “In spite of knowing all my failures, Thou knowest that my heart goes out to Thee?”
Thought: Is this your confession? If so, then repeat the words of the Psalmist as well, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts …. and lead in the way everlasting.” (Ps. 139:23, 24)
Psalter 384:1, 2, 5 (based on Psalm 139) O Lord, my inmost heart and thought Thy searching eye doth see; Where’er I rest, where’er I go, My ways are known to Thee. Each spoken word, each silent tho’t, Thou, Lord, dost understand; Before me and behind art Thou, Restraining by Thy hand. Search me, O God, and know my heart, Try me, my tho’ts to know; O lead me, if in sin I stray, In paths of life to go.