Motives are a tricky thing. And they are almost everything. Everybody is motivated by something. None of us truly knows our all of our motives for all the things we do from work to play to ministry. Our motives for following Jesus may be many, but Jesus whittles away at them to get us down to love.
This morning we come to the last passage of John’s Gospel and to the end of a nearly two-year journey together through John. Jesus has just found some of the disciples fishing and has cooked them some fish for breakfast. He then turns His attention to Peter and probes his heart with a question repeated three times, “Do you love me?”. Each question is followed by the command to be a shepherd for Jesus’ sheep. By questioning Peter like this, Jesus gets to the heart of ministry and mission motivation: love for Jesus.
Jesus goes on to tell Peter that the day will come when he will be old and will be led by others to do what he does not want to do. Jesus describes for Peter how he will die. Peter looks to see John following and asks that infamous question, “What about him?” Jesus responds basically with, “None of your business. You just follow me.” Jesus again gets to the heart of Peter’s motives.
May love be our motive in ministry and mission. May love be the reason and the power as we follow Jesus.