This Life Lessons post answers two questions. The first question was posed in Who Will Be First? That was the first of two guest posts by Jeff Mann. And this follow-up post deals with what may be the most probing question any of us will have to answer. This simple question is an invaluable diagnostic tool for our lives. And that’s why I’ve included this post in the Life Lessons series.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Who Will Be First, Part 2, Jeff Mann
During the trial of Jesus, Peter had denied knowing Him three times. And that was exactly what Jesus predicted Peter would do. In Jesus’ third recorded appearance after His resurrection, He finally addressed this. Jesus confronted Peter’s denial with a simple question and brought it all to the forefront.
Life Lessons: The Revealing Question
Peter…do you love Me more than these? The word translated love here is the verb form of agape, agapao, the divine kind of love. Peter could only answer that he had phileo, or brotherly love for Jesus. He knew his actions had spoken louder than any words he could have said that morning. He had
obviously shown his unwillingness, at least in that moment, to die with Jesus.
So who or what were the these that Jesus referred to? The Scripture doesn’t tell us. But we can easily figure it out. On the shore that morning were Jesus and seven disciples. Jesus could very well have been referring to the relationships they had with one another. Certainly, Jesus must have a higher priority in our lives than any other person. But Jesus could have also been referring to the fish, the nets, and/or the boat. Any or all of the above are likely candidates since Peter had been a fisherman by trade. Simply put, however, these are things. Material things often take the preeminent place in our lives.
Life Lessons: First Place Matters
The first chapter of Colossians describes Christ’s position and authority as Head of the Church. It also declares,
…so that He may come to have first place in everything.
When we decide to follow Jesus, we’ll have to get in line behind Him. If my life is the dot or decimal point, then by doing so I’ve ascribed to Him the value He deserves. He is and must always be number One.
Life Lessons: Grace For Incorrect Answers
Jesus gave Peter an opportunity for a fresh start. When Jesus told Peter to feed His lambs and sheep, He was calling Peter to the equipping ministry of pastoral care. After Jesus briefly discussed how Peter would die when old, He then concluded with the same call that started their relationship: Follow Me. The truth is that whatever role we might be called on to play within the body, we can only accomplish it if Jesus Christ has first place in our lives.
How are you doing today? Do you love Him more than these?
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