The Job Interview
Nov 1, 2021 1010
I’m sure that none of us enjoys job interviews! There’s the nerves and the sweaty palms, the tricky questions and the hesitant answers!
In a sense, every job interview is a mini judgment on your life, isn’t it? Have you collected enough knowledge, skills and experience compared to the next person? Are you good enough for the role? Can you perform better than the other candidate at this interview?
Being interviewed by poker-faced managers is bad enough, but what about if you were interviewed by God? Wouldn’t it be even worse if you knew that you were a miserable failure? That’s exactly what happened to Jesus’ disciple, Peter!
Peter had just come off the back of having confidently promised Jesus that he would never abandon him, and then that very same night, he had denied knowing him, not once, not twice, but three times (Matt. 26:33–35, 69–74.)
Now, everything had changed, because Jesus had risen from the dead. Actually, Jesus wants to consider Peter for a job; in fact the most important job of all. Jesus wants to give Peter the job of helping to look after his followers after he returns to heaven.
After his resurrection, Jesus had asked his disciples in Jerusalem, to go to Galilee and wait for him there. So that’s what Peter and the disciples did. One morning, Jesus appeared to them and had breakfast with them, and then he turned to Peter and had a difficult conversation with him.
The judgment won’t be based on your love for him, but on his love for you.
It was very much like a job interview. The issue was Peter’s character. How much did he really love Jesus? Let’s see how the interview went:
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
In an interview you have to pay close attention to the question. Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him. Each time, he used a different Greek word for love. Jesus addressed every king of possible love, and in the final question, Jesus referred to “agape’ love: the pure and selfless love of God. With each different kind of love, Jesus ramped up the pressure for Peter.
Peter loved the Lord as best as he could, but he each time Jesus asked him, he became more painfully aware of how deeply he had failed Jesus in the past. The third time that Jesus questioned him, Peter broke into tears. He admitted to Jesus that he didn’t trust himself, but that that it was Jesus who knew all things. He wanted Jesus to look into his heart and see that he did love him, and accept his love, and imperfect as it was.
When you know that you love Jesus but want to love him better, you are where he wants you to be.
And Jesus did just that. Because Peter had passed the interview, Jesus gave him the most important job ever. It is interesting that in response to each of Peter’s answers, Jesus replied with a slightly different phrase, as follows:
“Feed my lambs” (v.15.)
“Take care of my sheep” (v.16.)
“Feed my sheep” (v.17.)
Just as Jesus used an increasingly higher kind of love in each question to Peter, so too he increased the responsibility he gave Peter, with each response Peter gave him. Feeding lambs was something children could do. Taking general care of the flock of sheep was more advanced. But knowing where the pasture was for the sheep in each season was something a mature shepherd could do.
It was like a job interview, but it was a judgment of Peter by Jesus. And Peter was approved at the end.
In many ways, Peter’s interview with Jesus is like the judgment we will all face. The key question that God will ask in the judgment will be, “Do you love me?” This is, after all, the first and greatest commandment, and our love for Christ will be reflected in our love for others.
None of us will be able to tell Jesus that we love him perfectly, and in the end, we will just simply have to say, like Peter did, “Lord, you know all things. You know me from the inside-out. Can you still accept me, knowing what’s inside me, and how often I have failed you in the past?”
Then, the one with the wounds in his hands will smile at you and say, “You’ve got the job. Feed my sheep.”
When you know that you love Jesus but want to love him better, you are where he wants you to be. However, in the end, the judgment won’t be based on your love for him, but on his love for you.