Lovest Thou Me?

by the American Sunday-School Union

Jesus, after his resurrection from the dead, appeared at various times to his disciples. Once, when Peter, John, and a few others were fishing in the Sea of Tiberias, he stood on the shore, and inquired of them, "Have ye any meat?" They answered, "No." Then he directed them to cast their net on the right side of the ship, and they should find fish. They did so, and caught one hundred and fifty-three. The disciples then knew it was Jesus who had spoken to them. After they had secured the fish by drawing the net to the shore, Jesus invited them to dine with him.

The disciples had observed, so soon as they came to land, a fire of coals, and "fish laid thereon, and bread." This was the refreshment our Lord had prepared for them, and he, himself, gave them the simple repast.

After they had dined, our Saviour said to Peter three times, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?" The first and the second time Peter answered, "Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee." Peter was grieved because Jesus said unto him the third time, "Lovest thou me?" and he replied, "Thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee."

How did Peter know that he loved Jesus? It was not because he always did right, for a short time before he had denied his Lord, and had more than once said that he did not know him! Yet, notwithstanding this, when he was now asked, "Lovest thou me?" he could unhesitatingly answer, "Thou knowest that I love thee."

If you should be asked, "Do you love your parents?" you would immediately answer, "Yes." You know you love them. How do you know it? It might not be so easy for you to answer this question as the other, but at the same time you are conscious that you do love them. You feel that they are your best friends. They provide for all your wants. They furnish you with food and clothes and the means of education. They take care of you when you are well and when you are ill. You feel grateful to them for what they do for you, and you enjoy being with them, and talking with them. You like to please them, and it makes you sad when you have grieved them. Children who love their parents very dearly sometimes do what they do not approve; but they are always sorry for it, as Peter was when he went out and wept bitterly.

If you should be asked, "Do you love your heavenly Father?" could you as readily answer, "Yes?" Do you like to hear about him and his wonderful works? Is the story of Jesus' love for lost man one that interests you? Is it pleasant to you to think of living forever with the Lord when you leave this world?

If you love your Father in heaven, you do not love to do what is wrong. If you are overcome by temptation, and sin against him, you are sorry, as you are when you sin against your earthly parents.

Children, and grown people too, sometimes seem to think that religion is to be kept by itself, separate and distinct from our daily duties, and that it consists in praying, going to church, hearing sermons, and wearing a sober face. It is true the Christian often feels sober, but there is no one who may be so cheerful as he, for there is none that can be so truly happy. True piety extends to all the acts of our lives, and influences them all. It does not forbid our doing any thing that it is right for us to do. A Christian child enjoys play quite as well as any other child.

If Jesus should say to you to-day, as he did to Peter, "Lovest thou me?" could you answer, "Yes, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee?" It is just as easy for you to know whether you love him as it is for you to know whether you love your father and mother. I trust there are many children who do love the Saviour, and who wish to live to be good and to do good.