Thursday, May 8, 2014

Do you agape me?

Please read John 21:15-19 before continuing!

   I have always been intrigued by Jesus' and Peter's conversation at the beach but now I'm even more so. A few post back I wrote about how there are different words for see and how that impacts the story of the tomb but this post is going to be about the different words for love and how that impacts this conversation. 
   Two greek words for love are philo and agapas. Philo means to love in a friendly way, to be very fond of. Agapas means to love unconditionally, the way that God loves us. After listening to my wonderful Bible study leaders lesson and reading THIS translation I created what I think is an accurate (though slightly exaggerated because they're speaking their feelings aloud in my convo which the weren't doing on the beach) representation of what was going on.

Peter and Jesus: John 21:15-19

Peter, son of John, do you love me more than you love you friends and family, more than all who are here?*
Lord, you know that I'm extremely fond of you. I love you as one loves a best friend.
Feed my lambs.
Simon, son of John, do you love me unconditionally? Do you love me the way God loves you?
Yes Lord! You know that I love you greatly as friend!
Shepard/tend my sheep.
Simon, son of John, are you very fond of me? Do you love me as one loves a dear friend?
Master, you know all things, you know I love you as a dear friend! I want to love you unconditionally as you have loved me and it brings me great sorrow that I can't.
Feed my sheep.
Truly, Truly** I say to you, when you were young you dressed yourself and walked wherever you wanted to whenever you wanted but when you are old, you shall stretch out your hands and another shall be dressing you and carrying you where you do not want to go. Follow me.

   This conversation amazes me even more in this new light. Jesus is drawing to Peter's attention where he is in His faith walk. Then, even though Peter is not where Jesus would like him to be quite yet, he gives him his job and asks him again. The same answer is given. The third time however, Jesus meets him where he is and asks Peter to give him the love that he is capable of giving. Peter's reply is essentially saying, "Master, you have the love I can give right now! It's making me sad that I can't give you more!"*** Jesus response is one of assurance and promise. Maybe explaining Peter's horrendous death doesn't seem like a great way to make him feel better to you but I bet it pleased Peter immensely to know that one day he would be willing to sacrifice everything for Jesus. That one day he would love him unconditionally. That one day his love for his Lord would change from philo to agapas.

*Some people think that when Jesus says "do you love me more than these" he's saying do you love me more than the other disciples love me but I don't agree with that because Jesus would never ask Peter to be the judge of something he can't see (hearts). I think he meant "Do you love me more than anything or anyone else?" The people there would have included his closest friends and family (his brother Andrew was also a disciple). 
** The greek word he says is Amen Amen which would mean truly truly. It thought this was cool because when we say Amen at the end of a prayer we are confirming that all we've told God is true.
***I can definitely relate to this one! This story gives me a lot of hope and encourages me!
This is agape love!

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