He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? John 21:17.
This heart-searching question was necessary in the case of Peter, and it is necessary in our case. The work of restoration can never be thorough unless the roots of evil are reached. Again and again the shoots have been clipped, while the root of bitterness has been left to spring up and defile many; but the very depth of the hidden evil must be reached….
When, the third time, Christ said to Peter, “Lovest thou me?” the probe reached the soul center. Self-judged, Peter fell upon the Rock, saying, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.”
This is the work before every soul who has dishonored God, and grieved the heart of Christ, by a denial of truth and righteousness. If the tempted soul endures the trying process, and self does not awake to life to feel hurt and abused under the test, that probing knife reveals that the soul is indeed dead to self, but alive unto God.
Some assert that if a soul stumbles and falls, he can never regain his position; but the case before us contradicts this…. In committing to his stewardship the souls for whom He had given His life, Christ gave to Peter the strongest evidence of His confidence in his restoration. And he was commissioned to feed not only the sheep, but the lambs—a broader and more delicate work than had hitherto been appointed him.
Peter was now humble enough to understand the words of Christ, and without further questioning, the once restless, boastful, self-confident disciple became subdued and contrite. He followed his Lord indeed—the Lord he had denied. The thought that Christ had not denied and rejected him was to Peter a light and comfort and blessing. He felt that he could be crucified from choice, but it must be with his head downward. And he who was so close a partaker of Christ’s sufferings will also be a partaker of His glory when He shall “sit upon the throne of his glory.”
Conflict and Courage p. 322
—–Eileen may have to have more surgery if the inflammation and pain does not go away. Please pray that God will heal her. Pray also for Joyce for healing. Rose
—–Need prayers for myself — have Peripheral vascular disease, unspecified. Need to find out the cause. Lorraine
—–Have a friend diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and surgery for it on Aug. 3rd. Please pray for her. Lorraine
—–My stepson is going in for surgery tomorrow for his seizures. Please keep him in your prayers along with my daughter who is still just as rebellious as ever and things are not getting better between her and us (my wife and I), David
About an hour before quitting time one day a some years ago, Ron decided to cut a little cake that he had bought for his co-workers. As he looked for the knife kept for such purposes, he discovered that it had not been washed the last time it was used. Dried remnants of cake and frosting were stuck on that sharp knife just as hard as cement. There wasn’t time to soak the knife, so he started washing it with a paper towel under running water. That knife just was not getting clean, so Ron put a lot of pressure on it as he scrubbed. Suddenly, bright red was mixed with the running water. To his horror, he discovered that that ultra-sharp knife had sliced a chunk almost the size of a dime out of the tip of his index finger. All thoughts of the cake disappeared as he attempted to stop the flow of blood.
When he got home, he still was applying pressure on the wound. It was not helping a bit. As soon as I took a look at it, I knew that even my home remedy of flour was not going to work on this one and urged him to go to the immediate care clinic. He did.
While he was waiting his turn to see the doctor, a wild-eyed woman came rushing in. She was carrying her son who had some sort of neck injury. Frantically she answered the receptionist’s questions. Her only thought was getting her son the attention he needed. Those questions seemed to take an eternity.
Looking at the boy still in his mother’s arms, Ron forgot all about his small injury. His heart was filled with compassion for this mother and son. He was concerned for the boy’s welfare rather than his own. Moments later, his name was called. He told the nurse that he could wait. The boy needed to see the doctor worse than he did. She told him that it was their policy to take the person who was bleeding first. He refused. Finally, they took the boy for treatment as well.
As Ron was driving home, he was still thinking of that little boy. When he got home, he was still worrying about how bad the boy’s injuries were and was worrying if there would be lasting effects from his mother carrying him rather than calling an ambulance.
Ron’s selfless concern for that mother and son is the kind of love we are to have for others. Paul speaks of this, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Phil 2:4 Does this mean that we should attempt to control others in the way in which we think they should go? No! Paul is speaking of the selfless love and concern that mirrors Christ’s selfless love for us. He continues, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” vs 5-8 If we have our Compassionate Saviour dwelling within our heart, our focus will be on the needs of those around us. We will set aside what’s best for us, that we may do what’s best for them.
Indeed, our Loving Redeemer tells us that it is the way others can tell we have a true experience with Him, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35 This love is not syrupy but a principle, an action, a selfless concern for the wellbeing of others. How we treat others will have a direct bearing upon our own future. “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” Matt 25:31-45 James declares, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27
“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” 1 Peter 3:8-12
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? John 21:17.