Do You Love Me?

by Scarlett Stough

For the Scripture References and related Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study Guide: The First and Greatest Commandment.

After his resurrection, Jesus asked Peter, "Do you truly love me?" (John 21:16). He asked him three times; the same number of times that Peter had denied Christ after Jesus was arrested.

Would we be able to answer, "You know that I love you" (John 21:15-19). as Peter did if we were being asked the same question?

When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he replied:

'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
Matthew 22:37-40

Those who follow Christ as his disciples believe and understand Jesus was "the Word and the Word was God" (John 1:1). When Jesus is asking us to love him, he is asking the same of us as God asked of ancient Israel:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.
Deuteronomy 6:4-6

What does loving God look like? It involves the heart, our regard for and deep devotion to God with all the emotion love sparks within us. It involves our bodies, the whole life and being, given in obedience to God's instructions. It involves the mind with gaining truth in knowledge. It involves hating evil and loving good. Love is putting God's desires ahead of our own. It involves hating our own flesh by comparison to the love we have for God. It isn't just collecting facts or being "right" in our doctrinal conclusions.

Who among us has ever had that kind of love for God? Only Jesus had the greatest love. In unity with Jesus, we can grow to have that kind of love. Apart from the indwelling Holy Spirit we have no hope of attaining that degree of selfless service to another which has its source in God who is love and who asks us to love him in return.

Volume 17 Issue 04 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation |

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