Do You Love Me More Than These?

Today’s Gospel is a passage I love from the final chapter of John’s Gospel. After the resurrection, Jesus reveals himself to his disciples on the shore of Galilee. After eating breakfast with his friends, he asks Peter three times if Peter loves him. It is an exchange I have written and talked about before.

What always strikes me is the way Jesus’ question is phrased the first of the three times it appears in the Gospel: “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

The question I have whenever I hear or read the line is what did Jesus mean by “these”? I don’t think Jesus is asking Peter is he (Peter) loves him (Jesus) more than the other disciples love Jesus. But what is he asking?

Do you love more me more than you love your friends?

Do you love me more than you love your wife? And the rest of your family?

Do you love me more than you love your life as a fisherman? Do you love me more than than you love your own ambitions?

I think he means all and everything. Do you love me more than anything?

As we sit with the passage, I think the invitation is to ask ourselves a similar set of questions: Do I love Jesus more than I love my husband? More than I love my duaughter? More than I love my ministry? More than I love [fill in the blank]? We are invited here to reflect on how deep is our love for Christ – and on what competes with our love for him.

Do you love me more than these?

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