Our 2018 theme is “Love God. Love People. Change the World,” and this Sunday we’re going to continue this emphasis by studying Jesus’ post-resurrection interaction with Peter. Just a few weeks earlier Peter had infamously denied any connection to Jesus and had almost certainly been dealing with overwhelming guilt and regret since then. Corresponding to Peter’s denial of Jesus three times, Jesus asked Peter if he loved him three times. We’re going to focus primarily on the first question: “Do you love me more than these?”
Scholars debate what the word “these” refers to, and we don’t know for sure. Perhaps the ambiguity is intentional, though, leading us to wrestle with the things we’re tempted to love more than Jesus. Elsewhere in Scripture we read writers referring to competitors like money, self, the world, and even family.
After looking at John 21 and briefly considering the competitors mentioned elsewhere, we’ll use the question as a springboard for application to our church family. What is your “these”? What do you love more than God? Power? Money? Sex? Recognition? Approval? Security?
All of us are tempted to find our sense of identity and value in something beside our relationship to Jesus, so hopefully God will use this lesson to probe our hearts for these temptations. I pray that God’s Spirit will convict us to seek and love God above all else.