Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Does the Lord know that we Love Him?

Meditation for the week of February 14, 2010

John 21:17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, 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 all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep.

The Lord knows all things.  We knew that.  The Lord knows whether or not we love Him.

Men in particular seem to have trouble using the L world. Sometimes it is because they are afraid of the commitment that might be involved when they say the word.  Sometimes it is because they haven’t seen love expressed in their own parent’s relationships and never had it properly expressed to them.  I know a man who told me that when he got married, he told his wife he loved her.  He told her that if things ever changed he would tell her.  They had been married for many years when I knew them, so apparently things hadn’t changed. 

Love has many facets.  In the Bible, the word can mean charity or it can mean friendship.  Charity is usually love for an object that may not return the love, and it usually involves doing something sacrificial.  Friendship usually has to do with a shared relationship.  Peter had told the Lord that he would die for Him and then denied him three times when the Lord was being examined in the palace of the High Priest.  Now after the resurrection, the Lord asks Peter if he loves Him. Our English versions of this exchange do not make it obvious that different concepts of love are being used in the questions.  The first two times the Lord asks the question, He asks if Peter has charity for Him.  In other words, would Peter really be willing to die for Him?  Peter tells the Lord that he loves Him, but his answer uses the word friend.  It seems to me that Peter was confessing his weakness and his sin in denying the Lord without really having to describe all the details of what he had done.  The last time, when the Lord asks Peter if he loves Him, He asks if Peter really is His friend.  And Peter says, “Lord you know all things, you know that I am your friend.”  Now I realize we should love the Lord with charity and we should love the Lord as a friend. Both are important.  My question is, does the Lord know that we love Him at all?  Have we ever told Him that? 

Some relationship experts tell those of us who have trouble saying, “I love you,” to ask ourselves if we really do love the other person.  If we don’t love the other person, saying, “I love you,” would then be dishonest and a lie.  However, if that is not the problem, then the experts say that we should say the words whether they make us uncomfortable or not.  They say that saying them will be honest and make it easier to say the words the next time.  And saying the words just once like my friend did, usually isn’t enough. 

Now if saying the words to a person that we love is so important, how much more important is it to be able to say it to the Lord?  And when we tell Him, I am sure that He would like to called by His name.  It is one thing to say that we love God, but those of us that are saved love the Lord Jesus.  Calling Him God seems formal and abstract.  Calling Him the Lord Jesus, makes Him personal and real. 

The only reason that I can see for not saying, “Lord Jesus I love you,” would be if we don’t.  If we have never really seen our sinnership and depravity and our need of the Lord’s sacrificial death, we probably would not be able to say these words honestly.  And being honest would be the first step toward coming to that place where we do trust the Lord to save us and where we do come to love Him. Then we would be able to honestly sing the hymn:

My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
for thee all the follies of sin I resign. 
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
if ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now. 

I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
and purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
if ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

Bruce Collins

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