Tag Archives: denial of Jesus

The Best Way To Love Christ

When Jesus died, so did Peter’s dreams of ever making it right with his Lord. Can you imagine – letting someone down you loved so much and never wanted to disappoint? And so, with the cross came Peter’s final opportunity to have that last conversation, to tell Jesus how very sorry he was for denying him.

And then…the resurrection…a second chance.

So this was the mindset of Simon Peter when Jesus showed up on the shore one day, His third appearance after the resurrection. We don’t know all the details of those previous appearances, but from John 21, it doesn’t seem that Peter has had a chance to talk it all through. And he had likely replayed the denials over and over again in his mind – could’ve…should’ve…would’ve: his constant mantra, again and again. Now, finally, he would have a chance to stop, look Jesus in the eyes and say how sorry he was.

And what did he really want to tell Jesus – he really wanted to affirm his love for his Lord. “I know how this looks,” he would say, “but I really do love You. I really feel so sorry for all that I did.”

And then after breakfast, to Peter’s relief, Jesus approached him.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” John 21:15-17 (ESV)

In this little exchange Peter gets an opportunity to express his heart, and Jesus leads him every part of the way. And that is where it gets interesting. You see, Peter clearly wants to proclaim his love for Christ, and yet it may seem hollow in light of his failure. So Jesus leads him, asking him the question three times, and hearing Peter’s response, telling him, “Feed my sheep (lambs),” two times, and, “Tend my sheep” once.

Love Christ By…

So, for the rest of us, if we want to express our love for Christ, we must shepherd those in our care. Love them by feeding them. One way a mother loves Christ is by feeding her children physically and spiritually. And a Pastor loves Jesus by faithfully giving people the Word of God and caring for their souls. For all Christians given the charge over or the responsibility for others – it is the way we show our love for Jesus. Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and as a shepherd, his overriding concern is the care of His sheep.

How We Know This Is True

Aside from this passage, here’s how we instinctively know this is true: Would you like to know perhaps the best way to love me? Love and bless my children. There is not much in this world nearer and dearer to my heart. Bless them and you bless me. Hurt them and you hurt me.

And so, would you like to know the best way to love Jesus?

Feed His sheep.

For Tuesday, November 3: James 1



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He’s So Heavenly Minded…

(Hey Inspired Readers, please take note that I posted Matthew 11 a day early.  Click here to read that post.  In the meantime, here’s Matthew 10!)

“He’s so heavenly minded that he’s no earthly good.” You ever heard that one? If you have I hope you didn’t buy it. In fact, it’s impossible to be too heavenly minded. There is of course, a false spirituality that some people have, but this is not heavenly mindedness. It is pride or egotism, or even insecurity or a host of other sins, but it is not heavenly mindedness. That’s something you cannot have enough of. And having an eternal mindset is one of the great keys to living the Christian life.

C.S. Lewis put it this way in his writing, The Joyful Christian…

“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.  It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this (the reality is that many of us are so earthly minded we are of no heavenly or earthly good).  Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’; aim at earth and you will get neither.”

According to Mr. Lewis, it’s all in what we are aiming at. And everything (finances, relationships, work, you name it) gets “fixed” with the proper target of heaven in our sights.

And so, as Jesus is preparing to send his disciples out on the great preaching journey of Matthew 10, He tells them to keep their eyes on eternity. Specifically, in verses 31 – 33, he says this will be the key to overcoming one of the great sins of the human race: the fear of man.

“So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 10:32-33 (ESV)

There is coming a day, Jesus says, when you will want Him to identify you…by name. You will want Him to speak your name before His Heavenly Father. Think about that day, Jesus says, when the days on earth come that you are tempted to deny your association.

Outright denial is one thing, an action pointing to the fact that you are not really His. If that is your lot, then fear not, there is time to repent. Do so, now. But what if you look back on your life and realize that you have been imperfect in your acknowledgment of Jesus? What if there have been too many days when you have shrunk back from raising your hand as a Christian? Well, this is where another motivation for identification with Jesus comes in – for this preaching trip in Matthew 10 would only be the first of many for Peter and his brothers. In days to come, they would travel the world with the glorious gospel of substitutionary atonement:

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

1 Peter 2:24 (ESV)

He has paid for your fear and weakness, and this is another reason to give it up for boldness in His great cause.  That’s heavenly mindedness that will take you all the way home.


Friday: Matthew 12 – what after all is this unpardonable sin?


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Posted by on January 14, 2015 in Uncategorized


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