We’ve all been there. The battle raging in the mind. Should I? Shouldn’t I? What would it hurt? I’m not sure I can say “no.” How can I say “no”?
Peter did something he thought he would never do.
He denied the Lord.
In the heat of the temptation, he told others he never knew Christ.
He never knew the Man who chose him, loved him, taught him, and
performed miracles for him.
He knew now that his love was weak.
He knew now how capable he was of failing the Lord.
Here Jesus was, sitting at a meal with him. Risen from the dead.
Here Peter was, eating with the Man he denied. The Man who forgave
him, still loved him, and wanted to use him, when Peter thought he’d be
content fishing again.
Jesus asked him a question. Three times.
“Do you love me?” (John 21:17)
Maybe that question sat behind the look in Jesus eyes the last time
Peter denied Him. He denied the Lord three times, and Jesus turned and
fixed his eyes on Peter.
Behind those eyes, was He asking Peter the question, “Do you love me”?
Jesus asked it now—now that Peter knew Jesus had power over death,
over the powers of hell. He asked Peter about his love, now that he was
forgiven and not forsaken.
If Peter had heard Jesus words, “Do you love me?” the moment he was tempted to deny the Lord, would temptation have lost its power?
“You know that I love you,” Peter told Jesus.
But Peter let that love crumble into hiding when faced with
temptation. When asked if he knew Jesus, he even lied to himself. His
denial shouted a lie—the lie that he didn’t love Jesus.
Do we love Him?
Temptation will tell.
Temptations will lose their power when we keep ourselves in the love of Christ (Jude 21).