After Jesus was resurrected he appeared to Peter. Peter had recently denied Jesus 3 times at the time of his crucifixion. Peter was so zealous telling Jesus, “Even if I have to die with you, I will not deny you.” And yet, what did he do? Not once, but three times, he denied the Lord. When Jesus appeared to Peter, after the resurrection, Jesus asked Peter, “do you love me?” He answered “Yes, Lord, you know I do.” Jesus asked him a second time,”Do you love me?” Peter said, “Yes Lord, you know I do.” Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” This time it says, Peter was grieved. Jesus kept asking for a reason, the first answers were not good enough. That third time it pierced his heart. We can’t get to the truth until all our own walls, masks and deceptions have been peeled away. This hurts deeper than anything. Peter had to face the truth of who he really was. He denied Jesus three times, he was boastful and selfish. Though he was a disciple of Jesus, this didn’t make him any better. How many times have we said, yes to the Lord, but we didn’t let him do what has to be done. What has to be done is painful but its the only place we will find true relief and abundant joy. An illustration is if you were sick with a terminal illness, and the doctor said, I can give you relief, I can make you better, but you have to allow me to do this surgery or this procedure, and initially it will hurt, and there will be pain, but it’s temporary. If you had an infection, it’s safe to say that you would want the doctor to get it out, regardless of what you might have to endure. You would know that it was temporary and you would be on the road to recovery. In spiritual terms we all are terminally ill, and this is worse than any physical illness. This is an eternal illness that can only be cured by allowing God to inflict the pain on our inner self. When he says “Do you love me?” How is your response? Is it an emotional one, an intellectual one, a negative one, or is it a truthful one, one that penetrates to the deepest corner of your spirit, where you can feel it’s pierce?
It’s a daily act to keep coming back to our Lord and let him do whatever procedures on our spirit are necessary to keep us in step with his will. Are you like Peter, getting a repeat of the same question? The question keeps resounding, you answer but their is no relief and the question keeps coming back. It’s safe to say, there is something wrong with your answer.
Lord help me to not be afraid of any pain that there might be, because everything that you do, you do because you love me. Whatever the initial, temporal, pain, it can’t be compared to the abundant life and joy that you give. Strip me of the masks I wear. Let there be no deception about myself.
In Jesus name,