June 29 – Do You Love Me?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 29 – Do You Love Me?

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.”

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.”

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.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” (John 21:15-19)

The beauty of symmetry is astonishing sometimes.

When Jesus asks Simon Peter if he loves Him, the first two times, Jesus uses the word, “agape” which is a willful choice to love.  Simon, do you choose to love me?

But, Peter’s response comes back to Him, Yes Lord, you know that I love you “phileo” which is an emotions-based love.

Agape love is a love that since it is a choice offers images of loyalty and devotion.  Philos love is based in human emotions, is represented by the kiss and is also associated with the idea of being accustomed to someone.

Jesus was asking Peter if he would make the choice to love Him.  Peter responded that of course he was accustomed to loving Jesus.  He’d been with Him for three years, they were brothers, and they’d been through a lot together.  Peter had even pulled a sword out to protect Jesus.  How much more could he offer in proof of his love.

Jesus wanted Peter to make the choice now to love Him.  He’d denied Jesus in public, would he be able to stand up and announce his love for the Lord?

Finally Jesus recognized that they weren’t going to get anywhere with the conversation.  Peter, do you love me with your heart?  Peter was hurt by the constant questioning, but yes … He loved Jesus with all his heart.