When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" – John 21:15 (NIV)
Following the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there are recorded for us a number of times in which the disciples interacted with Jesus. In John chapter 21, the recorded interaction took place following the disciples, at Peter's prompting, having just spent a night fishing – a night in which they caught nothing. Come early morning, they were ready to quit when a man on shore called to them, challenging them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. They did so and brought in the haul of a lifetime: 153 large fish! To any fisherman, this was truly a fisherman's dream catch. Realizing that the man on shore was Jesus, they immediately headed in. Bringing ashore some of the fish they cooked them and ate. It is at this point that Jesus asked Peter the question noted in the quotation above: "Do you truly love me more than these?"
Jesus was not asking Peter if he loved Jesus more than the other disciples. The "these," I am convinced, were the fish, and maybe in particular THAT PARTICULAR CATCH. The fact that in the text the fish are described as "large fish" and then numbered (153) shows the interest that the disciples took in the catch. Yes, they were glad to see Jesus…"But Jesus, you need to see this catch! 153 fish! Can you imagine it, Jesus?" If the text stated that neither Peter nor any of the disciples had ever had such a catch in their entire lives, it would not surprise me.
So what excites you? If you were asked to write on a piece of paper your greatest wish, your greatest dream, your greatest potential accomplishment, what would it be? Bowling a 300 game, maybe? Or how about shooting a big buck with a record setting rack? Or owning a Jaguar SS100 classic automobile? Or flying solo for the first time? Whatever it is, would you love…do you love…Jesus more? We all take pride in something: our job, our children, our house, our accomplishments. This "pride of life" is not from our heavenly Father and, in fact, sets us against our Father and his ways.
So love God first and foremost my brothers and sisters. Love Jesus "more than these" other things, no matter how much these things may excite you.