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She was 29 years old. She had it all. She was happily married and had just given birth to their second child. Their oldest, a little girl, was in flourishing in first grade. Her husband was a professional who earned a very good salary, as did she. They seemed for all intents and purposes to be comfortable. Indeed, this couple, was “livin’ the dream!” So, when her husband came to me, seeking help, I wasn’t sure where to begin. He couldn’t articulate what was wrong but seemed to believe his wife wasn’t happy.
I invited her into conversation with him, and then on her own, and as we chatted, I could see her husband’s concern. So, I eventually told her I wanted to ask her two questions. The first question that I asked her, was a rhetorical question, which was intended to provoke some reflection, and not seek a particular answer. “Do you love your husband.” She was surprised by the question, because she had begun our session by asserting. “I love my husband very much!”
She began to weep, and then said quietly, “yes” and then after pausing a few moments said again, “I don’t know what that means…”. “That’s ok” I said. “Let me ask question # 2 because it's really the first, and more important question.” She looked puzzled. I asked, “Do you love ‘you’?”
Her husband had perceived a certain superficiality in her expressions of affection towards the family, but had not been able to figure out what it meant. Through some months of counseling and therapy, we worked through her rather tragic history, and helped her come to a place where she learned what it meant to love herself, and eventually to be truly capable of loving every member of her family.
This weekend our text speaks of how, after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, the disciples were “livin’ the dream”. Their savior was back! Death had not held Him! He was Risen! And now, He was manifesting himself in acts of power. He had shown himself as alive and well to his disciples, the people who had mostly profoundly mourned his death. But equally, our text has Peter wondering about Jesus’ line of questioning. Jesus had asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He was surprised by the question, thinking the answer was obvious. By the third time Jesus had asked the question, he was downright hurt.
Is Jesus punishing or teaching Peter? What does it all mean?