“Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” (John 21:15).
In the court yard of Caiaphas, Simon Peter was sweating tacks. A harmless servant girl caught his eyes and identified him as a follower of Jesus. When pressed in and questioned further Simon Peter denied that He knew Jesus three times.
In tonight’s Gospel reading, Jesus, resurrected and fresh from the grave shares breakfast with his dear disciples. Our Lord then asks Simon Peter three times whether he loves him. “Simon do you love me?” “Yes Lord.” “Simon do you love me?” “Yes, Lord I love you.” “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?” This third time Simon answered not so quickly. Grieving in his heart, he well knew the three times he had said, “No, I don’t even know the man!”
Simon took a deep breath and said “Lord you know all things, you know that I love you.” Simon knew he could no longer appeal to his own strength, commitment, and resolve. His zealous spiritual ambition was not enough to fend off the dainty pointed finger of a servant girl.
Simon rightfully looks only to Jesus, who does indeed know. Jesus is your “yes” to the question whether or not you love him. He is not looking for your personal decision for him, he knows his chances there.
He is looking for your faith and looks to feed you for where your love is lacking. The Lord knows all things. He knows how you love him and follow his voice. He knows how you have followed him into Holy Baptism. He lovingly sees you going to his altar to receive the food and drink that strengthens and gives eternal life.
Your sin is not enough to keep him away. Jesus is for real sinners like Simon Peter and like us. And the church is under orders to feed His sheep. Here we find our fill. In the name of Jesus.