Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these? John 21:15
This question, repeated 3 times, marks a critical moment in Peter's relationship with Jesus. Ashamed at his denial, tentative about taking on the ministry Jesus had for him, afraid of failing again, the last thing Peter wanted to do was answer this question in front of the other guys.
There are volumes of commentary on this exchange. Most agree that Peter's 3 denials warranted 3 public affirmations. There are several good insights as to what the "these" are that Christ refers to each time. However, without hearing the inflection in His voice or seeing His body language, we can't know for certain.
Context gives us a couple of possibilities, though.
Do you love Me more than the comfort of your routine?
Simon Peter had just spent the night fishing. Jesus instructed the disciples to go ahead to Galilee and He'd meet them there. With no sign of Jesus and not sure what to do next, Peter and the others fell back to what was safe and familiar.
Do I love Jesus enough to follow Him into situations that are stressful, or nerve-wracking? Am I willing to walk away from my perceived comfort zone?
Do You love Me more than these guys?
Peter had said, in no uncertain terms, that even if everyone else abandoned Jesus, he never would. Well, he did. Jesus allowed Peter to humiliate himself in front of his most intimate friends.
Do I love Jesus enough to respond in humility when He puts me through a fire or two? Even if my close friends see me fall?
Do you love Me?
Jesus always had a job for Peter, a ministry, a calling, a purpose. Peter's failure never forfeited that. In this moment, in this simple question, Jesus assured Peter, "I still want you. I still have a place for you. But I won't lie. It will be hard. It will stretch you beyond what you think you are capable of. Are you in?"
Lord, You know I love You.