DO YOU LOVE ME?

DO YOU LOVE ME?

"So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?' He saith unto Him, 'Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, 'Feed My lambs.'
He saith unto him again the second time, 'Simon, son of Jonas, Lovest thou Me?'
He saith unto Him, 'Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee.' He saith unto him, 'Feed My sheep.'
He saith unto him the third time, 'Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?'
Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time, 'Lovest thou Me?' And he said unto Him, 'Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee.'
Jesus saith unto him,
'Feed My sheep.'
John 21:15-17
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The love of Jesus Christ alone establishes status and confers dignity. Before Peter was clothed with the mantle of authority Jesus asked him (not once but three times), "Do you love Me?" The question is not only poignant but revelatory: "If authority is given, it must be based on the love of Jesus."
Leadership in the church is not entrusted to successful fund-raisers, brilliant bibilical scholars, administrative genuises, or spellbinding preachers (although these assets may be helpful), but to those who have been laid waste by a consuming passion for Christ; passionate men and women for whom privilege and power are trivial compared to knowing and loving Jesus.
We have only to examine the great clefts and fissures in church history, the ragged eras of hatred and strife, to see the disastrous consequences that come when John's criteria for leadership is ignored. We can only shudder at the pain caused by Christian crusaders across the centuries in the name of orthodoxy.
"Jesus was remembered as one who exhibited love in what He did and was loved deeply by those who followed Him."
And the beloved disciple (John) sends a message both to the sinner covered with shame and to the local church tentative and slow to forgive for fear of appearing lax or liberal. The number of people who have fled the church because it is too patient or compassionate is negligible; the number who have fled because they find it too unforgiving is tragic.

-Brennan Manning 
Excerpt taken from ABBA'S CHILD
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