Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Ultimate Love Question

By Marcia Lee Laycock

There is a very old technique, used by teachers and writers for centuries. Jesus used it skillfully and often. When he wanted to teach his disciples something, he asked them questions. The dialogue that usually resulted not only revealed the answers, but caused them to think. He asked questions that made them examine themselves, their motives and their true beliefs.

We can imagine Him asking those questions as they walked along the dusty roads of Palestine, along the shores of the Dead Sea, or up the sides of the hills around Jerusalem. The questions often seemed innocuous at first, of little importance and easily answered. Questions like the one he asked His disciples on the road to Caesarea Philippi: “Who do the people say the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13-15) The disciples were quick to answer. They’d been in the market places, in the synagogues. They knew what the people were saying and seemed eager to tell Jesus that he was well thought of. The people were comparing him to some of their greatest heroes, some even believed those heroes had returned in His form.

“Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” We can imagine Jesus stopping then and turning to face the men who followed him. “But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am?”

It was Simon who answered first, proclaiming his belief – “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (v.16) Jesus responds by proclaiming Simon’s true identity. He calls him first by his biological name – he is Simon, the son of Jonah. Then he gives him a new name, a new identity – Peter, the rock, the one who will build the church, the one whose authority will reach into heaven itself.

It isn’t much later when that same Peter is asked another question, three times. “Hey, aren’t you a disciple of that Jesus?” Peter had a quick answer then too, but it wasn’t the right one. His denial of his Lord seemed to fly in the face of the new identity Jesus had given him. But that wasn’t the end of the story. There were more questions to come.

After the crucifixion, after the resurrection, Jesus came and ate with Peter and a few other fishermen. Perhaps he had gone back to fishing, doubting that all those other dreams would ever come true. But Jesus broke bread with him again, and asked him another question, three times. “Simon, do you truly love me?”

I wonder how quick Peter was to answer? I wonder what he felt when he realized it was three for three? No doubt that question rang in his ears for the rest of his life, right up until he too was crucified.

It’s a question that should ring in our ears too, a question that should make us stop, examine our motives and our hearts. It’s the ultimate love question.

Do we truly love Him? 


Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was short listed in The Word Awards. Marcia also has two devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan.
Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for writers can be downloaded here.
Her most recent release is the first book in a fantasy series, The Ambassadors
Visit Marcia’s Website