2019
“Lovest Thou Me?”
previous next

Area Leadership Message

“Lovest Thou Me?”

As the disciples travelled with the Saviour into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked them, “Whom say ye that I am?” Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”1 Then, at the sea of Tiberias, the now resurrected Christ asked Peter, “Lovest thou me more than these?” Peter resolutely responded, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.”2

Peter knew through the Holy Ghost that Jesus was the Christ. He had received his own personal revelation, and this became his personal witness and testimony. The Saviour acknowledged this by saying, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”3 After Peter had professed his love for the Saviour, Jesus responded with the command, “Feed my sheep.”4 To serve our Saviour is to love Him, and to love Him is to know Him.

Last year in the April general conference, President Russell M. Nelson announced a new and holier approach to how we care and minister to others. He said, “The Lord has made important adjustments in the way we care for each other.”5 Then in the October general conference, President Nelson announced the implementation of “a home-centered and Church-supported plan to learn doctrine, strengthen faith, and foster greater personal worship.”6

As Peter continued to develop in his own faith, the Saviour said to him, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”7 President Nelson’s announcements of a home centred on learning the doctrine and of the newer, holier approach to caring for and ministering to others allow us to do the very two things Christ asked of Peter.

First, we are to develop our own personal conversion to the Saviour, Jesus Christ. Whether the Sunday meeting schedule is three hours or two, it is within the walls of our own homes that we will receive much of our personal conversion and conviction.

President James E. Faust (1920–2007), Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said, “If we really want our homes to be places of holiness, we will try harder to do those things that are conducive to the Spirit of the Lord.”8 The Church-supported resource Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families is designed to help us better learn the gospel, whether on our own or with our family.

When introducing any new adjustments to a personal or family schedule, it may come with its own challenges. Understanding this, President Nelson provided us with this reassurance: “I promise that as you diligently work to remodel your home into a center of gospel learning, over time your Sabbath days will truly be a delight. Your children will be excited to learn and to live the Savior’s teachings, and the influence of the adversary in your life and in your home will decrease. Changes in your family will be dramatic and sustaining.”9

The second aspect of Peter’s directive was to strengthen his brethren. We now commonly refer to this as “ministering”. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said ministering is “simply discipleship. We’re following the Savior. We’re trying to do what the Good Shepherd did and follow the example that He set, and our doctrine is to follow Christ and be His disciples in every way.”10 As we develop Christlike qualities within ourselves, the responsibility of our ministering assignments will not seem burdensome, but rather, it will feel desirable and be both rewarding and fulfilling.

What was Christ referring to when He used the word these, when He asked Peter, “Lovest thou me more than these?”11 It refers to the busyness and the many other influences in our lives that compete for our time and attention.

Elder Christofferson said, “To persevere firm and steadfast in the faith of Christ requires that the gospel of Jesus Christ penetrate one’s heart and soul, meaning that the gospel becomes not just one of many influences in a person’s life but the defining focus of his or her life and character.”12 As we develop our testimony in Christ, our conversion becomes our conviction. We can then answer as Peter did and resolutely say, “‘Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee’—for ‘thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’”13

Notes

  1. Matthew 16:15–16.

  2. John 21:15.

  3. Matthew 16:17.

  4. John 21:16.

  5. Russell M. Nelson, “Let Us All Press On,” Ensign, May 2018, 118.

  6. Russell M. Nelson, “Opening Remarks,” Ensign, Nov. 2018, 8.

  7. Luke 22:32.

  8. James E. Faust, “Standing in Holy Places,” Ensign, May 2005, 68.

  9. Russell M. Nelson, “Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints,” Ensign, Nov. 2018, 113.

  10. D. Todd Christofferson, in Effective Ministering (video), ministering.lds.org.

  11. John 21:15; emphasis added.

  12. D. Todd Christofferson, “Firm and Steadfast in the Faith of Christ,” Ensign, Nov. 2018, 30.

  13. See John 21:15 and Matthew 16:16.