What time the Lord Jesus took teaching His disciples the things concerning Himself! He drew them closer, giving them responsibilities to obey. This is true for us as well. Do we make Him number one in our lives? His commands challenge our hearts.
LOVE ME—The Warming of a Backsliding Heart
Peter had recently denied his Lord three times, what a tragic night for him! He made choices leading to the saddest event in his life. When he went into the High Priest’s house he followed the Lord from afar off. The first step to backsliding is removing oneself from close proximity to the Lord. Then sitting beside the Lord’s enemies, he warmed himself at their fire. Be careful with the company you keep! Three times he was challenged about his relationship with Jesus. He denied Him each time and the rooster crowed. Jesus looked at him, and Peter went out weeping bitterly.
Peter had witnessed His Lord being crucified. He was distressed and discouraged, so he went fishing with the others, an occupation he had previously left to follow the Lord Jesus (John 21:3; Luke 5:11). They toiled all night and caught nothing. I remember asking a fisherman in Newfoundland if there was ever a time when he caught absolutely nothing? He told me that he had never had that experience. Peter did, and what were his thoughts when Jesus said, “cast the net on the right side of the boat” (John 21:6). Luke 5 and John 21 have many similarities and contrasts. Search them out!
Jesus had bread and fish cooking on the fire, so He fed his disciples (John 21:12). He challenged Peter three times, “Do you love me more than these”? (NKJV). Peter was grieved the third time and said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love You.” The Lord restored Peter and gave him a great ministry to fulfill. If we love Him then each day counts in yielding to Him every department of our lives. Easy to write about and easy to read, but He is saying to you today, “Do you love Me?” How will you answer His question?
FOLLOW ME—The Walk of a Surrendered Heart
After the Lord restored him, He told Peter how he would die when he was old. Peter, seeing the disciple whom Jesus loved following, asked the Lord, “what will this man do?” (John 21:21). His answer was, “what is that to you? Follow Me.” We don’t know the motive for Peter’s question. There are many speculative suggestions about what was on his mind. The Lord makes an important statement that each servant is responsible and accountable to follow Him alone. Many have been hindered in following the Lord by seeking to please others. Paul says, “Do I seek to please men? For if I pleased men I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10).
How can you follow the Lord today? Here are some ways to live, follow, and please Him. To follow someone, you have to go in the same direction. For example, the rich young ruler asked the Lord what he could do to obtain eternal life. He had a good resume for he kept the commandments. The Lord told him to “go your way, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven…and follow me” (Mark 10:21). Sadly, he went in the other direction because he had great possessions. He gave up an eternal inheritance for earthly riches he would leave behind when he died.
Jesus said, “whoever comes after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34). Paul said, “follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (1 Tim. 6:11). Peter said, “For this you were called, because Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps” (1 Pet. 2:21). What example did he leave? “When He was reviled, did not revile in return. When He suffered, He did not threaten but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.” Great lessons we can learn from our beloved Lord. The New Testament is full of different ways how we ought to walk and please Him, search them out!
REMEMBER ME—The Worship of a Thankful Heart
Before Jesus went to the cross, He took His disciples into an upper room to keep the Passover. Afterward, He gave thanks for the bread saying, “This is my body which is broken for you, this do in remembrance of me.” He also took the cup saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is shed for you, this do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). In the Acts of the Apostles those who trusted the Savior committed themselves to Break Bread on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:23-30 brought to the Church at Corinth what the Lord delivered to him, “that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread and when He had given thanks He broke it and said, take eat this is my body which is broken for you, do this in remembrance of me.” He took the cup saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, this do as often as you drink it in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”
There is no greater joy than obeying the simple request the Savior made to remember Him. One year on November 11th, we watched the memorial service at the cenotaph in Ottawa. It was most solemn seeing elderly men and women in uniform with tears running down their faces, hearts touched as they remembered the events of the last war. Now the battle was over and the victory was won! What great triumph and rejoicing then!! However, that day they remembered the cost. Many of their companions never made it home. We rejoice in our hearts what the Lord did in wonderful triumph and victory; we gather for a solemn hour to remember what it cost Him. The shame and humiliation, the cruel suffering before and on the cross. Not only what humanity did to Him but what God did: “the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all…It pleased the Lord to bruise Him, He has put Him to grief. When You made His soul an offering for sin” (Isa. 53:6, 10). The greatest honor we can give Him is to remember Him. The ultimate purpose is showing forth His death until He comes! I understand there are times like sickness that can hinder, but whenever possible fulfill His request and remember Him.
CONFESS ME—The Witness of a Testifying Heart
Here are a few examples of those who publicly testified of the Lord. Peter said, “You are the Christ the Son of the Living God” (Matt. 16:16). Nathaniel said, “You are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel” (John 1:49). The woman who met the Lord, sitting on a well said, “come see a man who told me all things that ever I did, is this not the Christ”? (John 4:29). Martha said, “I believe you are the Christ the Son of God, which should come into the World” (John 11:27). Thomas said, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).
The Lord Jesus amidst a multitude of people said, “Whoever confesses me before men (humanity) Him will I confess before my Father, which is in Heaven” (Matt. 10:32). He also said, “the Son of Man shall confess you before the angels of God” (Luke 12:8). What an amazing promise the Lord made giving incentive to tell others about Him. Are you, by your life and word proclaiming Jesus Christ the Lord to a perishing world, who desperately needs Him? The opportunity will soon be over!