Do You Love Me?

Last week, my Facetime group finished studying the life of Jesus. We read about the disciples sleeping when Jesus deeply desired for them to be with Him, fleeing during His arrest, and conspicuously absent (except for John) at His crucifixion.

Peter denied Jesus 3 times. Peter failed Jesus-big time! For the most part, I do not identify with Peter because he is outspoken and seems to enjoy being in the middle of things. However, this aspect -disappointing Jesus- to that I can relate. I have slept when I should have been praying. I have I have retreated when I should have taken a stand. I have allowed my feelings to dictate my actions instead of faith.

I wonder what the encounter was like after Jesus rose from death and appeared to the disciples. The last thing they did was abandon him during his most difficult hours.  We don’t know all that was said or what transpired between that meeting and the next occasion when the disciples had returned to fishing. However, once Peter recognized him on the shore, he didn’t hesitate but took off his outer garment and threw himself into the sea in his eagerness reach Jesus.

Peter denied Jesus 3 times, yet when they met again, Jesus did not ask Peter to confess his sin but to confess his love. In John 21, Jesus questioned Peter 3 times, “Do you love me?” Every time Peter adamantly affirmed his love for Jesus. Each time, Jesus instructed Peter to watch over and tend his sheep. Peter wasn’t chastised or dismissed. He was given the very role Jesus embodied – shepherding.

The shepherd became the sacrifice. Because of his love for his sheep, Jesus, our shepherd laid down his life for us.

Peter would ultimately give up his life because of his love for Jesus. After Peter failed, he didn’t give up and go home, he jumped in and served with the strength the Lord gave him until his very last breath.

When our love of Jesus is foremost, our life is focused properly. We won’t live looking back to all the ways we have failed to measure up but in the new grace He lavishes on us each new day.

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

The Other Wiseman



I collect nativities and keep many on display all year long. I enjoy the reminder of the wonder and mystery of God becoming incarnate, of Jesus, the Creator, the King, born in an obscure village to poor parents.  When I consider the birth of Jesus, I wonder which person I would respond most like – hopefully not the innkeeper who failed to recognize the opportunity right in front of him. Instead. I would hope to respond like the shepherds who quickly hastened to follow the sign from heaven, seeking and finding the Christ.

I never really connected to the Magi, the elite of their society with resources to make an incredible journey seeking truth. Then I came across a story by Henry Van Dyke originally published in 1895. Since it is available free through public domain, I hope you will take time to read it. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/10679/10679-h/10679-h.htm

Mr. Van Dyke chronicles the journey of another wiseman. He is delayed joining the others because stops to help someone in need. Even so, he doesn’t give up, but continues the pilgrimage to arrive in Bethlehem only to find he has missed the One to whom the star was pointing. Along the way this seeker is interrupted by many, yet he takes time to assist those who cross his path as he searches for the promised King. This wise man enters Jerusalem just in time to purchase the freedom of a young girl being sold into slavery, but not in time to see the Messiah before He was crucified.

I feel like that character. Every day, I get interrupted and detoured by little things.  I say, “no” to seemingly “exciting” or “fulfilling” things so I can say, “yes” to the people closest to me. Like the pilgrim, I arrive at what I perceived was the goal too late or never at all.

This wise man dies saddened that he was never a part of the big events, never reaching his quest, yet as he enters heaven, the one He was searching for joyously welcomes him. Jesus astounds him by saying, “Whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

  Many keep the path, but will not reach the goal;

Who seeks for heaven alone to save his soul,

  While he who walks in love may wander far,

  Yet God will bring him where the blessed are. Henry Van Dyke

The Greatest of these is Love.