Chapter 43 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.
This week’s question: Do you love me more than these? (John 21.15).
Have you ever needed a new beginning? Has there been a time when you have blown it and you were tempted to just walk away from everything? Has that ever happened in your relationship with God?
Maybe you can identify with Peter. Someone once called him the disciple with the “foot-shaped” mouth. He had told Jesus that he would lay down his life for Him (Jn. 13.36-38), and yet, when that rooster crowed, he had denied Him three times!
Peter, heartbroken over his denial, walked away and went back to what he knew … fishing. Peter needed a fresh encounter with the Lord. And sometimes, so do we.
All night they fished . . . with absolutely zero success. At morning light they heard a familiar voice from the nearby shore: “Cast the net on the right of the boat, and you will find some” (John 21: 6). They did— and they did! Peter, always the impulsive one, didn’t wait for the others. He plunged into the sea, swam to shore, and saw the crucified and risen Lord . . . alive! Together they had breakfast on the beach. Jesus looked at him and asked, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” (v. 15).
For Simon Peter, this day marked a new beginning. Coming to grips with this question enabled him to realize his potential, which he had lost sight of after his devastating failure, after he had denied knowing his Savior.
It’s never too late for a new beginning. In fact, Jesus is in “the new beginning” business. And a new beginning often starts with a fresh encounter, just as it did with Peter.
According to the author, a fresh encounter with the Lord does three things:
- A fresh encounter enables us to realize our potential.
When Peter arrived on shore, Jesus referred to him as “Simon,” not Peter, not Simon Peter. Just Simon— and this is significant. Simon was his old name. When our Lord first encountered him three years earlier, Jesus said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas (which is translated, A Stone)” (John 1: 42). Jesus used a play on words. Simon means a small pebble; Cephas means a large rock or boulder. Jesus looked at Simon Peter not for who he was then, but for who he could become: a solid rock. Jesus clearly saw the potential in Peter’s life.
After this first encounter, Jesus never referred to him as Simon again— until this breakfast on the beach. And why did Jesus choose that name at this time? Because His impetuous disciple had been living in his old nature.
That must have pierced his heart, but he was about to be reminded of his potential.
- A fresh encounter enables us to recognize our purpose.
The bottom line for Peter— and for us— is whether we truly love the Lord Jesus. He still asks us today, “Do you love Me?” After all, as Jesus stated in the Great Commandment, loving the Lord Jesus is our primary purpose in life (Matthew 22: 37– 38).
- A fresh encounter allows us to realign our priorities.
Then, going a step further, Jesus qualified His question to Peter as well as to us: “Do you love Me more than these?” These what? These who? Peter was surrounded by his best friends and fishing buddies.
Jesus is calling us to love Him more than friends and family and familiar surroundings.
Could Jesus mean “Do you love Me more than you love your possessions”? By asking Peter, “Do you love Me more than these?” Jesus was having Peter zero in on his own priorities. When, as believers, we have our priorities properly aligned and we love the Lord Jesus more than we love life itself, it is amazing how other areas of life seem to fall into place.
New beginnings are not automatic. They involve the true confession of our shortcomings and a realignment of our priorities. Consider the fruit of those two steps in Peter’s life: Peter went away from this encounter to become the Spirit-filled preacher of Pentecost and the undisputed leader of the Jerusalem church.
What about you? Do you need a fresh encounter with Jesus? Go to Him. Confess your shortcomings and seek His wisdom to realign your priorities. Then follow Him.
Next week’s question: What shall we do? (Acts 2.37).
Last week’s question: Do you believe this? (John 11.26). Read it here.
You can get a copy of The Jesus Code and follow along with these 52 vital questions. The chapters are short and can easily be read in one sitting. If you do, I’d love your feedback. Click HERE to get the book or HERE for Kindle.
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