“Peter, do you love me?”
Why would Jesus care about being loved by Peter? He is Almighty God enthroned in the presence of thousands of adoring angels. He can command obedience simply because he is the greatest power in the universe. Why would he be seeking Peter’s love?
We seem to be far more comfortable when our deities command fear. Almost every idol or false god man has ever created seeks the submission of his or her subjects by sheer terror. But love? What false god ever wanted to be loved? Feared? Yes! Obeyed? Yes. But never loved.
After his work on the cross was finished, however, Jesus comes looking for love, and he seeks it from the one who had just failed him most. Could this be what he most wanted the cross to produce in his followers? Was his death designed to reach past their fears of God and begin a new relationship based on the intimacy of love instead? What else could it be?
Love lies at the very core of God’s nature. In fact, when John sums up the substance of God he does so in a very simple statement: “God is love.” We may not be able to explain in concrete terms all that God is and how Father, Son, and Spirit relate together in such unity, but we do know that they exist in a perfect state of love.
When that love touches you, you will discover there is nothing more powerful in the entire universe. It is more powerful than your failures, your sins, your disappointments, your dreams, and even your fears. God knows that when you tap the depths of his love, your life will forever be changed. Nothing can prevail over it, and nothing else will lead you to taste of his kind of holiness.
Adapted from He Loves Me, Chapter Ten, The Greatest Force in the Universe.
Those paragraphs still cause my heart to soar. That the God of the universe would put so much value on love is nothing humanity could contrive. This is a gift, pure and simple, the very essence of his nature. In the thirty years I’ve enjoyed learning to swim in that love instead of trying to earn it, this still overwhelms my heart with wonder.
We will be studying that chapter and the next one this Saturday, January 6, in the next gathering of the He Loves Me Book Club. We’ll begin at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. You can find the link for this conversation on the Facebook Group Page, or if you are not a member of Facebook, you can write me for a link. These conversations are held and recorded on Zoom. We stream them live on my Facebook Author Page for those who don’t want to be in the Zoom discussion, and you’ll find our previous conversations there.
This week, we will discuss Chapter 10, The Greatest Force In the Universe, and Chapter 11, He Loved You Enough to Let You Go. Both cover the concepts that shifted the paradigm of my heart from the old religious views of God that destroyed my faith in him rather than encouraged it.
You are welcome to join us even if you haven’t before. We’re just exploring themes to help us walk more freely in God’s goodness and love.