More Than These?

Discussion in 'Evangelism' started by SueJLove, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. Friday, June 07, 2013, 7:15 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song “Not Be Silent” in my mind this morning. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 21 (NIV):

    Haven’t you any fish?

    Jesus, died and resurrected, appeared for the third time to his disciples who had gone fishing at night. Jesus stood on the shore and called out to the disciples, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they responded. So, he told them to throw their net on the right side of the boat and there they would find some. They did what he said, and they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

    I love this story! I find it so encouraging. Jesus sees what we don’t see. He sees where the “fish” are. Early on in Jesus’ ministry, when he was calling his disciples to follow him, he told Peter and Andrew to follow him and he would send them out to “fish” for people. Before he left this earth, he told his disciples that when the Holy Spirit came upon them in power that they would be his witnesses throughout the earth. He also commanded them to go and to make disciples (followers) of Christ of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything he commanded. This is what it means to fish for people, i.e. to be witnesses for Jesus Christ and his gospel, and to lead others to be followers of Jesus Christ, too. So, if we don’t know where to fish, we ask the Lord. He’ll show us where the fish are. The big haul will then be when Jesus Christ comes back for his bride and all the “fish” are gathered in.

    The disciples then realized the one who had called out to them was the Lord, so they went ashore. Jesus told them to bring some of the fish they had caught. He cooked breakfast for them, and they ate.

    More Than These?

    Jesus asked Peter if he loved him “more than these.” It is not real clear what the “these” referred to, but we can speculate what they might be, based upon the passage itself. Perhaps the “these” was speaking of the fish, for Peter was a fisherman by trade, and he appeared to enjoy fishing, though I am certain it had its ups and downs like any occupation. The “these” also could have been referring to the other disciples, some of whom were fellow fishermen who had also become his close friends and companions. Whatever the “these” referred to, the message is clear. Jesus wanted Peter to love him above all else, to follow him wherever he lead him, to do what he told him to do, and to be willing to die for Christ.

    I believe the Lord Jesus is asking this question of all of his followers today: “Do you love me more than these?” For each of us, the “these” can vary, depending upon what else we “love.” For those of us in America, even among the poor, the “these” can include TVs, TV shows and/or movies, video games, smart phones, IPads (tablets), computers, houses, cars (autos), guns, musical instruments, stereo equipment, sports, careers, appearances, talent, giftedness, intelligence, education, our own bodies, our reputations, acceptance, friends, relationships, church edifices, church structure (programs, traditions & religious practices), people we idolize and/or follow after, our “heroes,” culture, and the list goes on. Whatever it is we love and give our hearts, emotions, passion, desire, time, affection and attention to in this life, Jesus is saying, “Do you love me more than these?” Will we love him above all else, and will we be willing to leave it all behind to follow him wherever he would lead us?

    Do you love me?

    When Jesus asked Peter the first two times, “Do you love me?” the Greek word he used was “agape.” This type of love is God-like in that it is self-sacrificial, selfless and unconditional. In other words, it puts others above ourselves, and loves no matter if we are loved in return or not. Jesus loved us while we were yet sinners, and he willingly gave his life up for us so we could go free. This kind of love is not based in how we feel, but it shows love even when our emotions are not there. It loves even when we are hated in return. And, it is the kind of love that puts Jesus above all else, and is willing to give up all the “these” in order to follow him in obedience. He said that whoever has his commands and keeps them is the one who loves him. He/she will be loved by the Father, Jesus will love the individual, too, and he will show himself to that person. And, the Father and the Son will make their home with that follower of Christ (see John 14; cf. 1 John; Luke 9:23-25).

    Yet, Peter responded all three times, and Jesus asked the third time using the word “phileo,” which is a human kind of love, which is based more in emotion, is more conditional in nature, and is more of an affectionate and friendship kind of love that is based more in the one being loved rather than in the one doing the loving. This kind of love will fail us. God’s love will never fail. Peter appeared very willing to express this kind of love to Jesus, but perhaps he just didn’t yet feel he was prepared to say that he had that kind of agape love for the Lord. And, possibly this is because he had failed the Lord so miserably when he denied him three times, just as Jesus said he would. Prior to that Peter had declared his undying devotion to the Lord, strongly protesting that he would ever desert or deny his Lord, and passionately proclaiming that he would literally die for his Lord. So, maybe Peter was a little reluctant to make such a strong declaration of love, because he didn’t want to fail again. I know I’ve been there before. Perhaps you have, too.

    Yet, Jesus loved Peter so much, he was willing to accept, for now, Peter’s declaration of natural, human and emotional love for his Lord.

    Feed My Sheep

    Peter’s declaration of human and emotional love for his Lord was a starting point, nonetheless, upon which to build. If Peter truly loved his Lord, he was to demonstrate that love by feeding the Lord’s sheep. Scripture often uses the terms “sheep” and “lambs” to describe Jesus’ followers. And, Jesus wasn’t asking Peter to literally feed with food his followers, though that certainly was not excluded, but he was asking him to teach his words to his followers, and to disciple, nurture, and to bring to spiritual maturity those whom the Lord would place under his care.

    The Lord Jesus was leaving the earth. And, he was passing the baton, so to speak, to Peter and to the other disciples, too. I believe he was mainly focusing on Peter here, because he was showing Peter the extent of his love for him, and how now, even after Peter’s gross failure, the Lord was restoring him, and he still planned to use him greatly. Awesome! I have been the recipient of such love and grace from my Lord, and I can’t express adequately enough what a difference that has made in my life. I am doing what I am doing today because he restored me, too, and he gave me the opportunity once again to be his servant and witness for the sake of the gospel of Christ.

    Yet, the main focus of Jesus’ message to Peter here was that if Peter loved his Lord, he was to show his love by spiritually feeding the Lord’s followers. Love for God is demonstrated by what we do. Jesus is not interested in lip service only. If we say we love God, but we continue in willful sin, we are liars. If we say we love God, and yet hate our fellow humans, we are liars. If we say we are in fellowship with the Lord, and yet we continue in a lifestyle of sin, we are liars. And, if we say we love God but we do not do what he commands, then we are liars, and we do not live by the truth (see 1 John).

    So, if we love Jesus, we will love him “more than these,” being willing to leave our sins and our “other loves” behind in order to follow him where he leads, putting him and his will for our lives above all else, and we will obey his commands and his teachings. And, we will be his witnesses for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we will lead others to follow Jesus, too.

    Not Be Silent / An Original Work / December 3, 2012

    Based off Psalm 30

    O Lord my God, I’ll exalt You.
    I called for help, and You healed me.
    O Lord my God, You brought me from
    the grave. You spared me from hell.
    Sing to the Lord, you saints of His;
    Praise His holy name today.
    Weeping may remain for a night;
    Joy at break of day. Our debt He did pay!

    O Lord my God, I said, “I will
    Ne’er be shaken.” Secure, I felt.
    O Lord my God, You forgave me.
    Confident I stand in You.
    When I could not see Your face
    I was dismayed. I called to You.
    O Lord, You are my help. You were
    merciful to me; By Your grace set free!

    O Lord my God, I’m so thankful for
    Salvation through my Jesus.
    You turned wailing into dancing;
    Clothed me with Your joy today,
    That my heart may sing To You
    and not be silent. Praise Your name.
    O Lord my God, I will give You
    thanks forevermore. My Lord, I adore!
  2. Hello there,I have read a couple of your posts and notice you are not getting many responses. Perhaps if you could keep your posts a little shorter, people may find they can find time to read and respond, just a thought, don't want u to get discouraged! :)
  3. Julie, thank you. I appreciate the feedback. All I can tell you is that God called me 7.5 years ago to write out what he teaches me each day from his word and to put it on the internet, and so that is what I do. I don't determine the length. These are not intended to be short little devotionals of my own initiative or determination. These are journal entries of what The Lord is teaching me each day, and I just write what he gives me to write, believing that he will use them for his purposes. They all seem to come out pretty much the same length. And I do nothing to try to make them a certain length, either.

    I am not concerned over the lack of responses. I believe God will direct the people to read them that he wants to read them and that he can provide what responses he wants me to have. I am not discouraged at all. Yet, I do so much appreciate your concern and your thoughtfulness and desire to help me and to encourage me. That is very kind of you.
  4. OK Sue, if you feel you are communicating, that is fine, may your journal speak to others
  5. This fits very well with my personal reading today where Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26)

    I also like what you observed about Jesus seeing what we don't see (i.e. the fish). The disciples had a hard time seeing the lost - those whom Jesus wanted His disciples to go out to 'catch'.

    Look, Pray, Go (What Jesus saw in Matthew 9)
  6. Thank you Fadingman for sharing those insights from your own time with the Lord. You know, I would not see these things, either, if it were not for the Lord Jesus opening my eyes to see what he sees. I thank him and praise him for what he teaches me each day and for the fact that he is opening my eyes to the truths of his word, and that he puts within me the concern for the lost.

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