Acts III Global Ministries

"Sometimes what you need the most,
you don't even know you need"

   

Peter Do You Love Me?

My very first time getting to preach was at church family camp in 2002. I can remember 1,000 different ideas of what to preach on, but none of them felt right. Finally, the Lord gave me this from the Book of John. Below is the passage from
John 21:15-17

15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My lambs."

16 He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Shepherd My sheep."

17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Tend My sheep.

Reading in modern English, you may not get much out of it. However, if you look at the passage in the original Greek, it does make a difference. Basically, there are two different words translated as 'LOVE' in this passage. I am simply going to put the two original Greek words in place of the English words in the same 3 verses above. Notice the changes below:

15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you agapao Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I phileo You." He said to him, "Tend My lambs."

16 He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you agapao Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I phileo You." He said to him, "Shepherd My sheep."

17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you phileo Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I phileo You." Jesus said to him, "Tend My sheep.

If you look closely, you will see that there have been two Greek Words inserted for the Word "Love" in the verses above. The two words are agapao and phileo. Now let us look at the Greek definitions of these two words:

Agapao - This is a very special and deep kind of love. It means to love dearly. 

Phileo- This is a friendly kind of affection. In Strong's Exhaustive Concordance it states the difference between agapao and phileo is that agapao is more of a heart love and phileo is more of a head love. 

Now read the verses again. You will see:

  1. Jesus asks Peter, "Do you LOVE me more than these?" Peter says, 'yeah I like you Lord.' 

  2. The second time, Jesus simply asks, "Do you LOVE me?" Notice that Jesus lessens the level of love. Sigh... Peter still cowers and only responds... 'yeah I like you Lord.' 

  3. Finally, Jesus asks, 'Peter...do you like me?' And Peter agrees. 

Some refer to this passage as the Lord allowing the Apostle Peter to redeem himself after denying Him three times prior to the crucifixion. I do not see it that way. Maybe Peter was still too prideful to admit before other men that he had a special kind of love for Jesus. It make you wonder if Peter limited the extent that the Lord could use him. Are you limiting how God can use you by your limited love for Jesus? Think about it.  

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