Jesus reached into Peter’s heart and put His finger on Peter’s motivation for service, which was to be his love for Jesus.
Anyone who has left houses...or children or lands, for My name’s sake will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life (Matthew 19:29, NKJV).
Jesus looked straight at Peter and asked persistently for the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” (John 21:17, NIV). Under the direct, searching gaze of his Lord, Peter must have known he was being asked whether he loved Jesus more than himself. This time did Peter squirm uncomfortably? Did he love Jesus more than the opinions of others, such as the servant girl in the courtyard? More than his own safety and comfort, as he would now be dangerously identified with Someone Who had been executed as an enemy of Rome? More than his own reputation? More than his memories of sin and failure?
Jesus reached into Peter’s heart and put His finger on Peter’s motivation for service. Peter’s motivation to live for Jesus and to serve Jesus was not to be an attempt to stave off guilt, or to earn forgiveness, or to avoid criticism, or to prove something to someone, or to gain approval or recognition. Peter’s sole motivation in service was to be his love for Jesus, pure and simple.