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“He asked a third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was sad that Jesus asked him a third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He replied, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep’”—John 21:17(CEB).

For over 10 years, my 2001 Honda Passport has sported a bumper sticker stating, “Real Men Love Jesus.” Although women have commented on the slogan, I’ve never had a man mention it—until recently.

As I was approaching a red light, a pickup pulled up next to me. Honking his horn, the driver pointed at me. Did I have a tire going flat? Had I left the gas cap dangling when I’d filled up with gas a few minutes earlier? He kept pointing at me as I lowered my window. Smiling, he yelled, “Yes, lady, real men do love Jesus.”

“If men would love Jesus they would be real men.”

The light turned green and as we drove off, he gave me a thumbs-up sign. Smiling, I returned his gesture. I’m sure the smile on my face was plastered from ear-to-ear.

Byron Yawn, Community Bible Church pastor in Nashville, says, “We turn to heroic biblical figures and icons in (movies for examples of manhood) but not to Christ. Yet Christ is the one to whom all biblical figures point and the one who makes Hollywood depictions of strength look foolish. There is no understanding of manhood without understanding Christ.”

Yawn admits that for years he mocked the bumper sticker that reads ‘Real Men Love Jesus.’ “I considered it an oversimplification and evidence of slogan-driven spirituality,” he says. “I once saw it posted on a billboard strategically situated over a gentlemen’s club. It seemed a foolish gesture. Are we to believe that Jesus can save us from the brazen immorality in our culture? Yes. We must believe it or there is nothing to believe.

“The more I’ve peered at manhood through the cross, the more I’ve come to admit the truth of this simple statement,” he adds. “If men would love Jesus they would be real men. If men would love Jesus, they would find a power over the most notorious sins. Real men ‘do’ love Jesus. Real men would have the courage to take a bullet for the gospel. Real men always have.”

What does Jesus say about loving Him? In John 21:17, Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus had to ask him the same question yet again. When Peter replied, “Lord, you know everything; you know I love you,” Jesus replied, “Feed my sheep.”

What does it mean to love Jesus? For both men (and women), loving Jesus means following Him and doing as He asked Peter to do, “Feed my sheep.”

1 John 3:17-18 tells us, “But if a person has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need and that person doesn’t care—how can the love of God remain in him?  Little children, let’s not love with words or speech but with action and truth.”

Do you love Jesus? Then go, and do likewise.

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