John 21:15-17 New King James Version (NKJV)
15 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.” 16 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.” 17 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.
The question that comes to mind when from this verse is this, “What does it mean to love Jesus?”
Jesus speaks to us four times of this love. His desire is that we would come to know that the nature of this love results in the keeping of Jesus’s commandments. Here are a few examples.
– Verse 15: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
– Verse 21: “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.”
– Verse 23: “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word.”
– Verse 24: “Whoever does not love me does not keep my words.”
It is important to notice here that loving Jesus is not the same as keeping his commandments. Loving Jesus always precedes and gives birth to keeping the commandments. Obeying His commandments is a result of loving him. It is not the same as loving him.