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YOU FOLLOW ME

From The Heart

Publish date: 08/08/2005

When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these [others do--with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You [that I have deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. He said to him, Feed My lambs. 16 Again He said to him the second time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You [that I have a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. He said to him, Shepherd (tend) My sheep. 17 He said to him the third time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with a deep, instinctive, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend]? Peter was grieved (was saddened and hurt) that He should ask him the third time, Do you love Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You [that I have a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep. 18 I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, when you were young you girded yourself [put on your own belt or girdle] and you walked about wherever you pleased to go. But when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will put a girdle around you and carry you where you do not wish to go. 19 He said this to indicate by what kind of death Peter would glorify God. And after this, He said to him, Follow Me! 20 But Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved, following--the one who also had leaned back on His breast at the supper and had said, Lord, who is it that is going to betray You? 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, Lord, what about this man? 22 Jesus said to him, If I want him to stay (survive, live) until I come, what is that to you? [What concern is it of yours?] You follow Me! 23 So word went out among the brethren that this disciple was not going to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not going to die, but, If I want him to stay (survive, live) till I come, what is that to you? 24 It is this same disciple who is bearing witness to these things and who has recorded (written) them; and we [well] know that his testimony is true. John 21:15-24 AMP

After Jesus was raised from the dead, He visited with His disciples for many days, teaching them, instructing them from the scriptures, unveiling the Old Covenant to them and revealing the New. At one point, He held a conversation with Peter, personally. He asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Twice, Jesus used the Greek word agape, which means a reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father, and Peter replied, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You.” Peter used the Greek word phileo, which means a deep, instinctive, personal affection, as for a close friend. The third time Jesus asked, “Peter, do you love (phileo) Me with a deep, instinctive, personal affection, as for a close friend?” and Peter answered Him in the same way.

Peter was upset that Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you phileo Me?” rather than, “Do you agape Me?” He probably felt bad that He could not honestly say to Jesus at that time, “I love you – I agape You - with a reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father.” Of course, on the Day of Pentecost, everything changed for Peter. Where once he denied the Lord out of fear for his own safety, now he publicly stood up and boldly preached Jesus in front of thousands of people. As God did a work in Peter’s life and changed his heart, Peter did learn to love – agape – Jesus. He loved Him so much that he was prepared to die for Him and indeed he did.

But while Jesus was still speaking to him, on this day, Peter felt uncomfortable, self-conscious and singled out. Jesus had told Peter how he would die – as a martyr. And after all this, Jesus said to him, “Follow Me!” instead of Peter just saying, “Yes Lord,” he tried to turn the spotlight off of himself onto someone else – John. He asked Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus answered him, “If I want him to stay until I come, what is that to you? What concern is it of yours? You follow Me!” Jesus was not saying that John would live until He came again - He was telling Peter that whatever He had called John to do was between Him and John. Peter needed to be concerned with what God had called him to do and not with what God had called John or anyone else to do.

This goes for every one of us. To whom much is given, much is required and much is expected. We have absolutely no business judging someone else or having an opinion on what they are called to do, whether small or great. Some people are called to do more than you and some to do less – that is between God and them. You need to find out what God has called you to do and what He expects of you. Forget about anyone else and concern yourself with pleasing Him! You follow Him!

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