Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you…I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left – feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.”
John 14: 25, 27
The Message Bible
Jesus and I
“I cannot do it alone;
The waves run fast and high,
And the fog’s close chill around,
And the light goes out in the sky;
But I know that we two shall win in the end –
Jesus and I.
I cannot row it myself,
My boat on the raging sea;
But beside me sits Another,
Who pulls or steers with me;
And I know that we two shall come into port –
His child and He.
Coward and wayward and weak,
I change with the changing sky,
Today so eager and brave,
Tomorrow not caring to try;
But He never gives in, so we two shall win –
Jesus and I.
Strong and tender and true,
Crucified for me;
Never will He change, I know,
Whatever I may be;
We shall finish our course and reach home at last-
His child and He.”
Today’s Study Texts:
Jesus: Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these other things?
Simon Peter: Yes, Lord. You know that I love You.
Jesus: Take care of my lambs.
Jesus asked him a second time…
Jesus: Simon, son of John, do you love Me?
Simon Peter: Yes, Lord. You must surely know that I love You.
Jesus: Shepherd My sheep. (For the third time) Simon, son of John, do you love Me?
Peter was hurt because He asked Him the same question a third time. ‘Do you love Me?’
Simon Peter: Lord, You know everything. You know that I love You.
Jesus: Look after My sheep.
John 21: 15-17
The Voice Bible
“How Deep Is Your Love”
“Love me when I least deserve it, because that’s when I really need it.”
How would I define the word love?
In what ways does knowing I am loved by God change me?
How does God’s love change the way I treat others in my life?
“Love Divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven, to earth come down,
Fix in us Thy humble dwelling,
All Thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, Thou art all compassion,
Pure unbounded love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation,
Enter every trembling heart.”
“Lord, it is my chief complaint,
That my love is weak and faint;
Yet I love Thee and adore, -
Oh! For grace to love Thee more!
The year was 1977. I remember that time in history very well for it was the year Jim and I met and got married – all within twelve months. It was also the year that a group of brothers, called the Bee Gees, released their hit song, “How Deep Is Your Love.” It wasn’t the tune of this song that I really liked. Instead, it was the following words:
“How deep is your love, how deep is your love
I really mean to learn
‘Cause we’re living in a world of fools
Breaking us down when they all should let us be
We belong to you and me.”
I took solace in these words for Jim and I married young and without a cent to our names. Of course, nearly all the older and wiser heads predicted utter doom for our union because we at least needed to have saved a set amount (and they set the amount) before we could “afford” to get married. Well, that was 40 years ago this past Christmas! What was amusing is that years later, some of the very people who thought we were two fools in love, totally unprepared for marriage, actually turned out to have gotten married and lived on a shoe string-budget themselves and it didn’t hurt them at all either.
The fact is that it takes a “deep love” to weather what life throws at you, whether it’s a marriage, a friendship, or simply interactions within our families. But I want to even go one step further. Having a vital and long-lasting spiritual life also requires a “deep love,” too.
We see this fact highlighted when on a beach one morning, Jesus took His close friend and disciple Peter aside and asked him, three times, “Peter, do you love Me?”
Some noted Biblical scholars call this the rehabilitation and commissioning of Peter and this idea may have merit. But I would like to call this conversation between Jesus and Peter a “Love Revival.” Here’s why! The word “revival” means to restore and to resuscitate. As a former nurse, you can only imagine the visual image which comes to my mind when I hear the word resuscitate. I think of mouth-to-mouth breathing. I remember classes I attended and even taught on performing C.P.R. – Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. The most important elements of this procedure are getting oxygen to the lungs and blood pumping to the heart and vital organs of the body as quickly as possible.
I contend that after Peter’s defeating denial, what he needed wasn’t to be “rehabilitated” in the eyes of the other disciples or sent out immediately on some mission trip. What Peter really needed was to feel Jesus’ unconditional love pumping through his heart – even throughout his entire being. And so Jesus had a “Love Revival” right on that beach. He didn’t need to pitch an old-fashioned tent, but He did have an altar call when He asked Peter, “How deep is your love” Not once – but three times. It wasn’t that Jesus didn’t know how deep Peter’s love for Him ran. To the contrary, even Peter pointed out to Jesus that He knew absolutely everything His disciple carried inside himself. What Jesus was doing was giving Peter, as He does you and me, too, the opportunity to reflect on the love we have for Him. At other times in Peter’s life, he had been quick to boast about his commitment to Jesus. In Matthew 26: 33, Peter went so far with his bravado that he told Jesus, “Even if all fall away on account of You, I never will.” Pretty sure of himself with no trouble around. But as John Mac Duff so correctly points out, Jesus wanted Peter to understand “that the very love he was tempted to boast of was not an innate, self-generated principle, but, like all of Christ’s other gifts, (love) was divinely imparted and nurtured. Jesus would lead Peter in the future to ever drawing supplies, not from his own frames and feelings, which were fitful as the changing sand, or apt to fail as the summer brook, but from the exhaustless fountainhead of God Himself.”
Author Mac Duff goes so far as to call this moment in time the turning point in Peter’s life. Mac Duff then shares these insightful thoughts regarding Jesus’ question, “Do you love Me?” In former times, Peter would have likely said, “I know that I love You.” But Jesus “taught him a different estimate of himself…Peter could only make the confident appeal to Him who knew his heart, as to the sincerity of his present resolutions.” In Peter’s mind he may have been fitful and wavering in the past, but his words now were: “Lord, it is with no false lips that I declare, with Your scrutinizing glance upon me, YOU know that I love You.”
How deep is your love? It’s a question that comes to each of us today. May our answer be:
“My God, I love Thee not because
I hope for heaven thereby,
Not with the hope of gaining ought,
Nor seeking a reward;
But as Thyself hast loved me,
O ever-loving Lord!
Even so I love Thee, and will love,
And in Thy praise will sing,
Solely because Thou art my God,
And my eternal King.”
Latin, 17th Century
Translated E. Caswall
“Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love You.”
John 21: 17
The Message Bible
“He (she) does much who loves much.”
Thomas á Kempis
Let Me Love You
“Take my gifts and let me love You,
God who first of all loved me,
Gave me light and food and shelter,
Gave me life and set me free,
Now because Your love has touched me,
I have love to give away,
Now the bread of love is rising,
Loaves of love to multiply!
Take the fruit that I have gathered
From the tree your Spirit sowed,
Harvest of Your own compassion,
Juice that makes the wine of God,
Spiced with humor, laced with laughter –
Flavor of the Jesus life,
Tang of risk and new adventure
Taste and zest beyond belief –
Take whatever I can offer –
Gifts that I have yet to find
Skills that I am slow to sharpen,
Talents of the hand and mind,
Things made beautiful for others
In the place where I must be:
Take my gifts and let me love You,
God who first of all loved me.”
Shirley Erena Murray
In Every Corner Sing
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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