Subject 16 : The Gospel According to JOHN

[Chapter 21] The Lord Loves Us (John 21:1-20)

The Lord Loves Us
(John 21:1-20)
“After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We are going with you also.’ They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Children, have you any food?’ They answered Him, ‘No.’ and He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and eat breakfast.’ Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, ‘Who are you?’—knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish. This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.’ He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep. Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.’ This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, ‘Lord, who is the one who betrays You?’”

God So Loved Us

God created the universe and everything in it, and then only did He created human beings according to His own image. He had created human beings only after having firstly created a safe and comfortable environment for them to live in. He had granted the entire creation of the universe to human beings and said, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28).
Why do you think the omniscient and omnipotent God created all things of this universe first before He created human beings? He did this because He knew people would interfere with His work. And why do you think He granted all things to people? It was because He loves us humankind that much. If this be so, why do you think God loves us so much?
Let us take a look at the Book of Genesis chapter 1 verse 27. “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” If we read this passage carefully, we will see that God created human beings in accordance with His own image. Just because He had made us in His own image, we must not think that had created our outer appearance to look like Him. The Bible does say that, “God is Spirit” (John 4:24), God having created us in His own image really means that He created us as spiritual beings. A spiritual being means that it can enjoy glory forever along with God for such a being is divine like God and can live eternally. And this is clearly the purpose why God created human beings. In other words, God created human beings as beings who can live together with God forever. Also, therein lies the important and profound secret in the fact that God had created human beings in His own image.
People are the happiest when they give birth to children who look exactly like themselves. You must have seen parents all so happy when they are told, “The baby looks exactly like his father.” If one were to look at the baby and say, “That baby looks just like the man next door,” would parents like such a remark? They will most certainly not like a remark like that. If this did happen they will never let that person to enter into their home again due to their anger. Like this, to parents a child is their offspring and very precious and valuable because its life is linked with theirs. So we see a parent’s love towards their own children is endless, and even if they were to give everything they own to them, they will not feel any regret. Does God love people for this very reason? No, not at all. We need to know that it is because God made us in His image in all aspects. God wants all human beings who were made in His image, to live together with Him in Heaven for all eternity; knowing this can you imagine just how great His love is?
There are times when people are unable to give things to their children, but for our God, He is able to give anything He wants to His people. Do you truly know why God made human beings in His image? He did so in order to give them everything that is in Heaven. It was to allow people to live eternally like God and to enjoy everything and all the glory of Heaven together with Him forever. Like this, human beings had been created in God’s image to receive all God’s blessings; but how foolish would that be if they only sought out for fleshly things by just say living for some tens of years in this world?
We should always be thinking about of the origin and the goal of our lives. Sadly, there are many people who go on living without understanding why they have been created, where they come from, and where they are going. People like this must meet God through the gospel of the water and the Spirit by faith without fail. And they must clearly know why they have been created, why God created them, and also where they will be going in the future. Once answers to these questions are found, they will be able to feel the unfathomable warm love of God.

People Continue to Wander Aimlessly Around for They Do not Know the Righteousness of God

A life of faith without the knowledge that God loves them has no meaning at all. This also applies those who have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Even though they lead a life of faith, there can be no satisfaction and something will always be lacking. Also they will find themselves leading a life of religion based on its formalities. In short, they will become pew warmers. For this reason we must without fail know that God loves us. We must know without fail that God has given us we who are living in this desert-like world, His great and overflowing love through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and that He has loved us from the very beginning; and He still loves us. That is what God also wants all of us to know. He has told us about His love throughout the Bible.
God loves human beings His creation we who are less worthy than bugs, so much that the writer of the Psalm 144 sang this song:
“LORD, what is man, that you take knowledge of him?
Or the son of man, that you are mindful of him?
Man is like a breath;
His days are like a passing shadow” (Psalm 144:3-4).
Because God loves each and every one of us, He had His only begotten Son receive His baptism from John the Baptist and gave Him up on the Cross so that our souls will not suffer destruction but rather gain eternal life. The Scripture passage which says that God loved the world means what it says that God loved every single person in this world. Even if there was nobody else in this world except me, Jesus probably would have come to save me. We must understand that God loves equally, whether He loves just one person or the entire population of this world. A single human being cannot love hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of people the same. Because human beings are imperfect, no one can even remember them all.
But with God, loving a single person and loving the entire population of this world which numbers over six billion is the same to Him. In the universe, there is nothing God does not know, for God counts the number of the stars and calls them all by name (Psalm 147:4), and the very hairs of our head are all numbered by God (Matthew 10:30).
Even before we were even born into this world, God knew everything about us. He sent His only begotten Son so that we may attain everlasting life rather than suffer destruction because He knew what kind of sin we would commit by being born into this world, and because He knew that we were destined to go to hell because of this terrible sin. For this reason, God has bestowed everlasting life to those who realize and believe in His grace. And that is precisely what God’s love is all about.
Parents love their children even when they are still inside the womb. “Honey, when we have the baby, what shall we name it? If it is a son let’s name him so and so, but if it is a daughter, let’s name her so and so. Let’s prepare clothes and quilts for the baby, and when the baby grows up, which college shall we sent it to? I believe raising the baby in such and such way would be best.” They go on planning and preparing the baby’s future. But the baby inside the womb does not know who its parents are, and it does not know how much they love it. But despite this, the parents still love the baby.
Likewise, even when we did not know God, He loved us. No matter how much sin we may have, God’s love will always be greater than all our sins. The reason why God loved us so much is because inside every one of us is a soul which was created according to God’s sacred plan and purpose. There is no other reason.
Even if children are not as good looking as other people’s children and are troublemakers, their parents still love them. When a child is on the verge of death with a serious illness, they worry lest the child should die. Even if a child is physically handicapped, the parents still love the child and take pity on it. No matter how much sin we may have, God does not want any souls to go to hell. He despises sin, but He loves human beings. Even though human beings may be unavailing and their whole lives may be like a passing shadow, but nevertheless in this shadow-like life, is a soul. In the eyes of God, any soul is precious. “I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord” (Isaiah 49:5). When I see myself, I am not that special and in the eyes of others I may seem less special than ever. But God sees me as someone glorious.
However, if we do not know the purpose for which God has created us is the soul in each and every one of us, and that God loves our souls very much, we will be destroyed for become misfortunate and lowly like an animal. We must therefore make every effort to find God amidst our busy lives without fail by clearly realizing this truth.
It is the same with our lives of faith. Even after being born again we need to continue to know God’s love. It is because our faith is not just some absurd and empty religious faith created by people. God whom we believe in is the actual living and working God. It is true that He has made us from the dusts of the earth and of the breath of life, and even now He stands next to us and looks over us. For this reason, we must lead a real life of faith instead of leading a life of religion blindly.
At times, as we go about our things we become tied up in certain work, our hearts fall into it, and there might be occasions when we go on living forgetting that God is amidst our lives, that God is alive, and that we stand before God. When this happens we start leading a lukewarm life of faith as if we have not received any love while forgetting how God has loved us. God had warned us against this. In the Book of Revelation chapter 3 verse 16, He talks about this, “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” Therefore while we lead a life of faith we must always feel God’s love, and through His Word we must listen to that love. And when we meditate on what kind of love God has given us every day, we will not ever be able to lead a lukewarm life of faith.

Our Life of Faith Is Actual and Real

You and I are right now are offering our worship to God. We are living and working before God. Like this we are actually serving God and also spreading the gospel before God. This isn’t just a futile argument but an actual fact. You must clearly realize this fact.
When we stand before God and see ourselves as we are, we get to think about what we are doing before God and also what sort of grace and love we have been clothed with by Him. It means that we get to think about what kind of being we ourselves are and also and what sort of love and grace we go on living with. Then we get to realize that we are standing right now before God because of that grace and that we are living all so peacefully before Him. If we reflect on our lives just a little, we get to fully recognize that God loves us. As we retrace our lives from the time when we were sinners by not having met the Lord, we can see how much God loves us and how much He has led us all throughout the course of our lives. And also we get to realize that we have become glorious before God and that He loves us.
At times we forget that we are leading our lives before God. The Hellenic words ‘coram deo’ means ‘before the face of God,’ and this signifies that it is actually all before the face of God that we receive our salvation from our sins and live out our faith. But despite this we forget about this fact so often. The disciples of Jesus also found out that God had loved them. That is why they led a life of spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit all throughout the known world by becoming the servants of God only after Jesus had ascended to Heaven. The disciples who had led such a life went up to the Kingdom of Heaven prior to us, and right now they reside in Heaven with the Lord.
After having completed the work of taking on the sins of all mankind by receiving His baptism from John the Baptist in the Jordan River, Jesus was crucified to death. But before dying Jesus told His disciples that He would be resurrected in three days. Having witnessed the Jesus’ death, all they had to do then was to wait for three days by faith. But even though His disciples had heard these words about Jesus’ resurrection often times, “For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead” (John 20:9), they were not able to fully understand its true meaning. And so as it is shown in the Gospel of Mark chapter 16 when Mary Magdalene having witnessed Jesus’ resurrection first told the disciples about it, but the disciples did not believe this news at first even though they were told about it. Only after having met the resurrected Jesus physically later on they then only believed in His resurrection, and as for Thomas who had doubted this resurrection for not having been there, believed in the end only after Jesus had personally shown him the spear mark to His side and the nail marks on His hands. Whereupon Jesus said, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
These are the very Words given to us by Jesus. Although we are unable to meet Jesus right now in this world, but nevertheless we believe in His existence. We get to meet Him through the Bible, by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and also we go on living with the hope of Heaven where we will soon actually meet Him face to face. It is very easy to believe in things we can see smell and touch, but it is difficult to believe in things we cannot see. And this is why Jesus said that we are more blessed than those who would only believe in Jesus only after seeing Him with their own eyes. Jesus is giving us infinite blessing we who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Having taken on the sins of this world by receiving His baptism from John the Baptist and having shed His blood before dying on the Cross; Jesus is pouring upon us much greater love.
Jesus’ Disciples Met Jesus Once Again
Today’s Scripture reading tells us about the event where Jesus met the seven disciples, including Peter at the Sea of Tiberias. The Bible says that our bodies will be changed into spiritual bodies that is different from the one we now have when we meet the returning Jesus Christ. Through the appearance of the resurrected Jesus shown to His disciples, we are able to imagine just what our spiritual bodies will be like. As we can see from Thomas having seen and touched Jesus, this resurrected body will have flesh and bones, and it will be seen and be touchable. Also when Jesus met the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias He ate food with them, and on His body the scars of having been crucified were all there to see. So we will be able to see a resurrected body that is not different from our current fleshly bodies. However, although the disciples did not having recognized Jesus and although Jesus walked through walls and having moved transcending space, we are able to infer through this that the resurrected body would be a spiritual one, differing from the one we are clothed in right now.
Like this, a body and a soul are resurrected as an existence that can live eternally. For those who have been truly born again for having received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, this resurrection is something that is waited upon with anticipation. It is because to live eternally together with Jesus in Heaven is something that is joyful and heart-pounding, and cannot be compared to anything else in this world.
Even for those of us who have become the righteous like Jesus, there is this resurrection that awaits us. But the resurrection of the wicked is different from that of the righteous. For those who have not as yet been truly born again, this resurrection is something that is greatly feared. As I mentioned previously, the resurrection of the righteous is something joyous and wonderful for they will live forever together with the Lord in the Paradise, but for the wicked who have not been born again, their resurrection is all so agonizing and fearful for their body and soul will fall into hell fire that shall never be quenched. Which resurrection are you then a partaker of? Is it the resurrection of the righteous? Or is it the resurrection of the wicked?
The disciples toiled all through the night to catch fish, but they did not even catch one. But Jesus appeared to them at early dawn and told them to cast the net on the other side of the boat, and when they did as was told them, they caught 153 large fish. You might think that this scene is familiar. You are right. When Peter and his fellow fishermen, James and John met Jesus for the first time something similar happened. Also back then they toiled all through the night unable to catch any fish, but with a single word from Jesus they were able to catch numerous fish. Just as Peter said, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net” (Luke 5:5), when Jesus told them to cast the net on the other side of the boat; salvation is something that human beings cannot attain despite having toiled all through the night but instead it can easily be gained with a single Word of the gospel of the water and the Spirit from the Lord. This is why we must lead our lives by relying on the Word of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, rather than one’s own efforts or one’s own thoughts. Only by doing so, we the born-again people will be able to catch much fish.
Jesus Appeared for the Third Time and Questioned Peter 
The Gospel of John chapter 21 shows us the resurrection of Jesus and it also shows Jesus’ conversation with Peter, which isn’t shown in any other Gospel, therefore we can say that it is an important chapter. The content of the conversation is comprised of Jesus asking Peter, who had denied Him three times, and then giving him a new mission and telling him to follow the Lord.
Peter was passionate more than anyone else. He was always at the forefront of the Lord’s work, and he spoke bombastically that he would never forsake Jesus. But we see Peter who had been over confident was more concerned with his own welfare. And as prophesied by Jesus he agonized after having realized that he had denied Jesus three times. “A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.’ And when he thought about it, he wept” (Mark 14:72). He had denied the Lord three times who professed earlier that he would never betray Him, his self-remorse and agony must have been unbearable.
Jesus appeared to such Peter. If Jesus had been just an ordinary person He would have become angry all of a sudden by saying, “Did you not betray me?” and He would have at least seized him by the collar. But Jesus did not do that. Instead He said, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?” He confirmed that there was a great love for the Lord in Peter’s heart. Peter answers, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” This statement is the same as saying, “How can I stand before you and say that I do not love You Lord, for You have loved me?” To this answer the Lord replied, “Feed My Lambs,” and He then entrusts His lambs to him.
And then He asks once again. “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?” Peter then answers with the same answer he had said the first time. Then Jesus entrusts His lambs to him by saying, “Tend to My sheep.” And then He asks again. “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?”
It is recorded in the Bible that Peter was grieved because Jesus had asked again although he had thought that Jesus would not ask him any more. Peter’s heart must have been very uncomfortable, just like any man who has done wrong and feeling sorry not knowing what to do when the other person treats him nicely, instead of showing anger. Perhaps he might have wanted Jesus to get angry and strike him instead. And so Peter answers Jesus with intense feeling. “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
So then Jesus entrusts him with the work by saying, “Feed My sheep,” and develops an intimate relationship with him spiritually. Peter had no choice but answer in the same way for each of the three questions asked by Jesus. It is because Peter had meditated on the fact that Jesus had accepted and cleansed all his sins with His baptism and the shedding of His blood, which is the unequivocally great Truth of salvation. After this Peter went on spreading the righteousness of Jesus rather than his own righteousness. And after having spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit he suffered his martyrdom as prophesied by Jesus, and then was embraced into the Lord’s bosom.
By questioning Peter like this who had denied Jesus three times, Jesus confirmed His love for Peter. Before, Peter followed Jesus only with fervor. But after experiencing such great love of Jesus on in a personal way; with the strength of this love he was able to spread the gospel even embracing his own martyrdom. We are also those who have realized the love of Jesus through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Therefore we don’t have any other choice by to bear witness of Jesus until we die with the strength of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The questions that Jesus had asked Peter are exactly the same questions that He now asks us.
God Has Given You and Me the Same Confession as That of Peter
Peter professed, “Lord, You know all things; you know that I love you.” He has given us such a confession in our hearts by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We have become those who cannot but love the Lord not because we have loved the Lord first but because the Lord has loved us first by the water and the blood and has shown us that love personally. Therefore more than all the people in this world, we also love the Lord. It is because the Lord has loved us first by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Because the Lord has given us love, we have become those who love the Lord more than anything or anyone in this world.
Dear fellow believers our Lord has made us people who knows what the true gospel really is; He has also made us practitioners of His love. We are believers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit who love the Lord more than any other person in this world. No one in this world is more lovable than the Lord. Is this not true? Yes, even though there are innumerable people in this world, no one is more lovable than Jesus. It is so because we have been clothed with God’s love by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. There are times when we love the world and those close to us, but we come back under the faith of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit each and every time because of that love Jesus first bestowed upon us.
Just as Peter confessed, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you,” when Jesus had asked him, “Do you love me more than these people?” we also make such a confession to God. And we thank Jesus for having loved us after having received the baptism from John the Baptist for us and then died on the Cross. His love toward us continues even now inside the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It is a salvation and a kind of love that will never end.
Human beings are selfish. People love only if they themselves are loved. People do not love just because someone has told them to love. People love because they like it in their heart.
But we truly love God. We don’t love Him reluctantly. And we do not love Him just because we are commanded to do so. We love God also simply because He has loved us first by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If God had not loved us by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we also would not have loved God in turn. Even if we want to love Him, we would not be able to love Him because of the sins which are still intact in our heart. Is this true, or not? It is most certainly true.
Jesus had given salvation to Peter as well as to the disciples through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. By receiving His baptism from John the Baptist and carrying the Cross on His back, Jesus willingly paid the price of death, which is the full price of sins, which included all the sins of Peter who had denied Jesus by saying he never knew Him. So the disciples of Jesus were also able to love Him. The confession of Peter where he said, “You know that I love you more than these people,” must also become your confession as well as mine. We must understand as such and love the Lord. Also we must lead our lives abiding by the request and the command given by the Lord.
When God created us mankind in the very beginning, He also created us with love. He created us so that He may love us for all eternity, and through Jesus Christ He witnessed this vast love personally. We have received the remission of sins by realizing this love through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. In other words, we have received the remission of our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
How can we, who are like this, not love Jesus? If the Lord had not saved us by the gospel of the water and the Spirit and if He had not blotted out all our sins, how then would we have been able to love the Lord? We could not love the Lord. Because God loved us first, we can now love the Lord more than all the peoples of this world.
The Reason We Love the Lord More Is That the Lord Had Loved Us First
We cannot but love the Lord because the Lord had given us salvation by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Because the Lord had remitted all our sins by the gospel of the water and the Spirit once and for all, we cannot refrain from loving such a Lord. Therefore, we also can confess, “Lord, You know that I love you.” Our hearts are filled with this love of salvation God had poured upon us, and so with this love, we love the Lord by professing, “Lord, I love you more than all these people.”
We truly are able to love the Lord because He has given His infinite love to us. We have received the Lord’s love. We were able to receive the love like this because God has given us this love of mercy first. Right now we are living out our lives with the strength of love where He gave the remission of sins. If the Lord did not love us, we could not go on living.
God said that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. The Word of God is the Word spoken by none other than God. God said, “I have given you eternal life, and I have instilled my love in your hearts.” Because God instilled His love into our hearts, we have been able to receive this love, and we get to live out our faith by keeping faith through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
We Are Wearing God’s Love
If we do not know God’s love which came to us by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we will not have the strength to go on living. God saved us from all our sins by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and not only that He has given us all spiritual grace because He loved us. And when we do realize and believe in this, we begin feeling in our hearts God’s love in action. Also as we cherish the grace of God which came inside our hearts, we are able to go on living in this world by the strength of that love. Like this you and I get to go on living by the strength of God-given love. We do not go on living by any other kind of strength.
When we go into the fields, we find nameless flowers growing there without anyone taking care of them. This is all possible because God provides rain according to its seasons and grows them with appropriate sunlight and temperature. God raises even such little flowers with His own hands like that. If this be so, how about us human beings? God gives us everything in abundance, sparing nothing out of His great love for us. For we reside in such a love of God, we receive the good rain of grace given by God, get to grow as the possessors of health and strong faith, and then bear many fruits of faith. God has given us His true love so that we can go on living by such faith right now. And so, we can confess exactly the same kind of faith as that of Peter. We can say, “There is someone that I love more than all these people. He is the Lord. Because you gave me the love through the water and the Spirit, therefore I cannot but love you.”
The Lord knows every thing about us in detail. Even before Peter admitted his love for the Lord, the Lord already knew that Peter loved Him. Because the Lord loved me like that, the Lord knows that His love is in my heart and also that I cannot but love the Lord more than any other person. No one knows this, but the Lord knows. Didn’t the Lord love me even though He knew every kind of sins I would ever commit in the future? Did He not pour His love upon me? I know that the Lord loves me to the very end; He loved me thus far, and He will continue to love me in the future. Therefore, I cannot throw away my love for the Lord. I also love the Lord. And the Lord knows that I love Him.
Jesus knew Peter’s heart like this also. He knew that Peter loved Him. Although His disciples were catching fish right now, Jesus knew that His disciples also loved Him. Peter as well as all the other disciples knew that Jesus came to them because He loved them. Because the Lord loved His disciples, He came to see them when they were shivering with fear inside their home, and also when they were wrangling with Thomas, He also came to see them. Even though the disciples were disheartened as if they had never experienced His love, and they departed to catch fish bound by the need for food, clothing and shelter and acting just like worldly people, the Lord nevertheless loved them to the very end. Peter knew that Jesus came to see them because He loved them. The other disciples also knew this.
“You know that I love you more than these people.”
“Feed My sheep.”
Jesus entrusts God’s lambs to those who loves Jesus more than anyone else, knows Jesus’ love and have received His love through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It means that Jesus entrusts His work to those who love Jesus more than anything else in this world. That is why when Peter said, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you,” Jesus replied three times, “Feed My lambs. Tend to My sheep. Lead them.” Peter knew that God came to see him because He loved him. He knew that there was no reason for Jesus to come to see the disciples if He had not loved them. He knew that because the Lord God loved them, He came to see them again and that God would love them to the very end. For this reason Peter believed in Him.
God Loves All Those Who Have Received the Remission of Sins
God gives His love to every single human being. God continues to give His love ceaselessly. Because God loves us He granted to us everlasting life and the love that enabled us not to suffer destruction for all eternity. As it is written in Psalm, “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you visit him?” (Psalm 8:4), God pours upon us such great love that we cannot but truly be thankful to Him.
Jesus also has given to us God’s love. And even now He continues pouring His love on us. He will never ever forsake us. No matter how weak and lacking we may be, He will never forsake us. At the time when our Lord was receiving His baptism from John the Baptist, He wrote off all our trespasses. And after having taken onto Himself all our sins and trespasses, our Lord saved us completely from our sins by being crucified. There are occasions when someone dies by accident in the attempt by trying to save someone else, but it is uncommon to find anyone who is willing to die for someone else’s sake. To that extent, to die for someone else is never an easy thing to do. Yet our Jesus gave to us such a great love through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Instead of resenting us, Jesus carried on His back all the sins of the world by receiving His baptism from John the Baptist, and acquiescently took on the task amidst the extreme pain of His skin and flesh getting torn apart by the whipping with a whip embedded with sharp piercing nails which punctured His skin and tore His flesh. No other love in this world can be compared to such a love of Jesus.
God gave us true love of salvation. We have received God’s true and genuine love by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. God loves us, and because we have received His unconditional love, we can love God. This is clearly the relationship between God and us. This is precisely what a relationship of love is all about; our faith is standing on this relationship. Also this is a perfect love. Therefore, we can neither lose nor forsake God’s love. Even though we can be defeated by our own self at times, we have become those who can confess despite all things, “We love the Lord more than anyone else in this world.” This became possible because the Lord had given us His love of salvation through the gospel of the water and the Spirit first. We are doing the work of the Lord because the Lord entrusted us with His work. It is because feeding the Lord’s sheep all the while following Him is also the love given by the Lord.
Dear fellow believers, we must realize just how great a love God has given us. From the time God created mankind for the very first time; He formed man from the dust of the earth with sincerity so that He may eternally live together with us. It means that He created us as objects upon which He could bestow His love. From the time God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, He had in His heart the plan to give us His love.
God came down to this earth in a form of a human being in order to save us who had no choice but to commit sins due to our weaknesses and to go to hell because of all our sins. He had known all to well that we would never be able to cleanse away those sins by ourselves. The very ‘One’ who had come by the gospel of the water and the Spirit was Jesus Christ. As our Savior, Jesus came and took on all the sins of humankind by receiving His baptism from John the Baptist, paid the full price for all those sins on the Cross, and cleansed us from the sins of the world. Like this, God cleansed all our sins with His great love, and furthermore He gave us everlasting life. He made us the objects of His love. We who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are ‘the called ones’ of Christ (Romans 1:6). Those who are clothed with God’s love become one with Christ, having received grace from God.
God showed His love by poured over us His great love through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. God cleansed us ‘those who are of Christ’ by saving us who cannot but sin due to our lacking and weaknesses through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have truly become God’s children who are clothed in His love. You and I who are the truly born-again have become those who are of God. Only those who believe in God’s love can become Gods very own people. Dear fellow believers, through God’s love we have become one with Christ. Because God has given to us such a great love, we now are able to lead a life of faith by believing in our hearts with this love.
We Give Thanks to God of the Truth
More than anything else we must be thankful that God loves us. Just as God came to His disciples because He loved them, He intervenes in our lives because He loves us even now. Although we are truly weak and lacking, the Lord comes to us again and asks us, “Do you love me more than all these people?” He repeatedly tells us that He loves us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Therefore, we truly give thanks to our Lord.
Dear fellow believers, let us all together answer Jesus’ question.
Jesus right now is asking you, “Do you love me more than all these people?”
“You know that I love You, Lord. Did you not give me love? So, I cannot but love You, Lord.”
“Feed My sheep.”
Let us all make confession again to the question, “Do you love me more than all these people?”
“Lord, you know that I love you.”
Having denied Jesus, Peter turned around before Jesus once more, and later on he became the highest leader amongst the disciples. He then witnessed to people God’s salvation, grace and love by the gospel of the water and the Spirit (1 Peter 3:21). Just as Peter had gone before God after having lived as a precious servant of God, you and I must likewise also go before God. We must confidently confess our faith by saying, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love you more than all these people,” and we must spread the Lord’s love far and wide. Because we have the gospel of the water and the Spirit in our hearts, we have the heart that loves the Savior Lord more than anyone else. I give thanks to the Lord who has given us such a heart.
We give thanks to God. I am also thankful and joyful by what great love He has given us. Truly we don’t even realize just how lacking we are and what a lacking life we lead. We are so lacking that we cannot but fall down and break down so often. However, because of such a great love of God that came to us by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we are able to stand up firmly again, and with the power of God’s love we are able to amply overcome and go on living. I am just thankful to God that I am following the Lord by the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Hallelujah! I love You, Lord.
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Sermons on the Gospel of John (VIII) - THE LORD WHO HAS GIVEN US BLESSED LIFE