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Discussion Forum : Devotional Thoughts : "Lovest Thou Me?" by A. B. Simpson

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Joined: 2006/8/10
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 "Lovest Thou Me?" by A. B. Simpson

In a post-resurrection appearance to His disciples, Jesus asked Peter a pointed question that suggests and recalls Peter’s failure on the night of our Lord’s betrayal:

“…Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these?...And he said unto Him, Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee…” (John 21:15, 17).

It was suggestive and significant that Christ should have to ask him at all, “Lovest thou Me?” There is nothing that more keenly wounds than to have our friends doubt our loyalty and affection. Then the form of the question was emphatic, for Christ asked Peter three times, in evident allusion to his threefold denial.

Failures of Love?

And so He is asking us this question in the light of our failures. Not harshly, but with exquisite tenderness does He remind us of our unfaithfulness and presses home the question again and again until it reaches the very core of our conscience and heart.

After all, have not our failures been chiefly failures of love? Is not this the supreme test of life and character, and may not all our faults and failures be resolved into a lack of love to Jesus Christ, a spirit of selfishness, a consideration for something less than the supreme claims of His love and His will?

And yet our very failures are but the occasions that should make us love Him more. How oft He has forgiven us, how long He has forborne with us, how patiently He has waited for us to learn the lessons He has sought to teach us, and to rise to meet His thought and will by the memory of His own suffering and infinite mercy, by the love that has covered all our imperfections and loved through all our ingratitude, inconsiderateness and nothingness. This is who is asking us today, “Lovest Thou Me?”

“Lovest thou Me more than these?” This question suggests the things that compete with His claims and divide our hearts from His supreme love. “More than these” may mean all other friends, or all other disciples, for Peter had boasted that he would be true if all others failed. But more truly it means all the things that Peter loved, and it brings them all into competition with the claims and love of Christ.

There was his business and his fishing nets, which he had recently taken up again, and to which, perhaps, the Master pointed as He asked the question. To how many of us the secular occupations of life become so absorbing that we have neither thought nor time for the love of Christ. The pursuit of wealth, ambition, success, or the reverse side of life’s occupations, and the anxieties, cares and fears of loss, disaster and the struggle of business – these things distract the hearts of men from fellowship with the Master and the supreme possibilities from which He claims our lives and our hearts.

With some it is the absorbing ties of personal friendship, family affection and social life. When the adversary wants to turn our hearts aside from some supreme call of the Master, he is apt to get us preoccupied with some inordinate affection, some idolatrous and earthly love, some counterfeit of the Holy Ghost, by which he deceives. And if he cannot lead us into sin, he at least preoccupies us and distracts us even as the compass is turned and the ship is often distracted from her course by some little piece of iron on the deck of the vessel deflecting the magnetic current from the true direction of the pole.

The one imperative question that Christ asks of every soul is, “Lovest thou Me?” Without this we can be nothing to Christ, and in the final day the test will be, “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ let him be anathema” when the Lord shall come (1 Cor. 16:22).

The first mark of declension is the same lack of love. The church at Ephesus had lost its first love and was about to be rejected. The church of Laodicea became lukewarm and had become disgusting to the Master. Our talk, our work, our promises, our professions are offensive and abhorrent to His true heart if He does not see below them all the pulsation of a heart of true and single devotion to His person. He will press the question home until He searches you to the very innermost depths of your life, “Lovest thou Me?”

He is asking in these last days not merely for followers, but for followers who will “follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth” (Rev. 14:4); not only for friends, but for friends who will do whatsoever He “commands” them (John 15:14); not only for guests who will sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb, but for a holy and separated Bride who shall love Him with an exclusive affection that none other shares.

But this passage also suggests to us that love must be more than sentiment, more than protestations, more than the strongest, warmest speech. It must be practical. It must be proved by sacrifice, by obedience to the very test which He imposes and the very service which He commands.

 2023/11/7 9:54Profile

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