Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said . . . Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” (John 21:15)



A two-year-old boy dashes full-tilt across the playroom floor toward his father, who has just entered. But in the child’s scramble, he shoves past his toddler sister so that she falls over into a wailing heap. Still, big brother is devoted in his joy as he repeats, now clinging to his father’s knee, “I love you so much, Daddy.”

But little sis remains toppled, and her protest shifts from startled indignation to sobs.

Dad steps over to sis with his one free leg and gathers her up, his son still clinging to the other leg. He responds warmly but firmly, above his daughter’s cries, “Honey, I love you too. But you hurt your sister.”

“But I love you, Daddy.” The boy squeezes Dad’s knee even tighter.

“I know you do. But your sister—”

“I love you, Daddy.”

Still holding the daughter close, Daddy kneels down and lifts his son’s chin so as to look him in the eye: “Then take care of your sister.”

It’s difficult to know and even speculate as to all that might have been behind Jesus’ awkward repetition (three times), questioning Peter’s love for Him. But His concluding point each time is unmistakable—if Peter loved Jesus, then he’d be about caring for those whom Jesus loved. It’s always easy enough to express our love and devotion to God in word, but Jesus made it clear that the proof is in how we care for His people.

—Martin W. Wiles (with Craig A. Bubeck)

Identify someone whom you can care for this week, and do so for the love of God.

Martin W. Wiles is a preacher’s kid and author who understands believers’ struggles. He resides in Hodges, South Carolina.