Do you truly love Jesus?
Text: John 18: 12-18 & 25-27
Text verse: John 18:27
Peter’s loyalty to Jesus is evident in the fact that he followed Jesus to the high priest’s home.
The disciple who went with Peter is quite possibly John who also wrote this gospel. He never mentions his own name. In chapter 13:23 he also refers to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved very much.
From the rest of the gospel it is clear that John had many contacts among high-ranking Pharisees. Unlike the other gospels, John also tells us about the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus, who was a member of the Jewish Council.
Furthermore, in verse 15 it is said that John was known to the high priest. The word refers to much more than mere knowledge. It can also refer to friendship (also see Luke 2:44). Since John was known to them, he could persuade the doorman to let Peter in. It is at this door where Peter is first confronted with the question of whether he is not also a disciple of Jesus.
It is easy to condemn Peter, but the fact is, we as believers can associate with him much more than we would like. Through our thoughts, words and actions, we also often deny Jesus. We deny Him when we tell a lie, are more obedient to people than to Him, or when we are afraid to stand up for what is right.
It is a denial because our actions, thoughts and words show that we love something or someone else more than we love Jesus.
You may be lying because you do not want anyone to think badly of you. So, you love your prestige more than Jesus. You do what people expect of you because you are more devoted to that relationship than your relationship with Christ.
If we have the desire not to deny Jesus in our lives, we must love Jesus more than anything or anyone in our lives. The only way we can do this, is to get to know Him better. We must see that His love means more to us than any other person or prestige or power we can possess.
All these earthly things place a terribly high demand on us. You can only maintain prestige if you continue to please and impress people. It later becomes a soul-destroying battle to convince people of your worth. You also have to cast everything out to maintain that prestige and honour. Later, all your relationships suffer.
The reason we fall into this type of temptation is because it presents us with a false love. We will be accepted and loved and honoured when we achieve these accomplishments. The sad reality, however, is that it is false love and it drains you.
So too, it is with any earthly relationship or object that you love more than Jesus.
In contrast, Jesus’ love for us is eternal. It does not depend on our achievements. Despite our sin and weakness, He continues to love us. On the contrary, He goes even further by renewing us. He gives us His Spirit to work in us.
No greater love exists on earth. That is why Jesus also says: “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:30).
Therefore, we must focus on the love that we find in Him. We must fill our minds with His glory and love for us. The more we realise how enormous Christ’s love is for us, the less we will be able to deny Him.