As fun as it may be to portray the good confession from a worldly point of view — and I hope it amused you too — it becomes extremely serious when Jesus asks the question. This is what He was asking Simon Peter upon the shore of the Sea of Tiberias. “Do you love Me more than [you love] these?”
When Peter denied Christ, he was doing the opposite of confessing his faith. He was confessing against his faith, which effectively removed him from the number of Jesus’ disciples. He desperately wanted to make amends for this, but couldn’t. See how quickly he threw himself into the sea to go and speak to the Lord upon the shore. See how he single-handedly dragged the massive net of fish up onto the shore, when all seven men couldn’t pull it into the fishing boat earlier. Peter was confessing by his actions that he wished to set things right between him and Jesus. But he couldn’t. It required an act of God.
When Jesus asked him, “Do you love Me more than these?” the question drove straight into the meat of what happened that terrible night. Was Peter’s love for Christ stronger than his love for himself, or his love for esteem in the eyes of others?
We might well ask the same thing of ourselves. Will I be willing to forsake all and follow my Lord, when it means losing the esteem of my associates, or of my friends, or even losing my life?
We may be inclined to thank God that such a decision occurs so seldom in our lives. But is that really true? Any time someone contradicts the Bible, or claims the authority of God’s Word for something it doesn’t teach, or otherwise dishonors God’s name, we are called upon to love Christ “more than these.” Any time we are inclined to replace our hearing of God’s Word with common, worldly activities, we are called upon to love Christ “more than these.”
Perhaps we should be as humble as Peter. Instead of being glad that we don’t have to make such a hard choice, we should watch and pray; pray for strength and integrity of faith that comes only from God through His Word. Other people will think less of us, but does it really matter? Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord. See how fickle is the love of the world, by comparison.
Yes, Lord, you know that I love you. Help me to love you as I would.