The Most Authentic Way
Levels of Love – Part 1
Scripture Reading: John 21:15-19
Key Verse: John 21:17
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.
When speaking of authentic love we must also examine levels of love. In the interaction of Jesus and Peter in our scripture for today, we see two levels of love being discussed. Jesus used the verb “agapao” when He asked Peter if he loved Him. But when Peter answered Jesus, each of the three times Peter used the verb “phileo.” The great commentator Adam Clark defined the verb Jesus used as the word that signified to love ardently, supremely and perfectly. But the verb Peter used to answer Jesus signifies to love, to like, to regard or feel friendship.
It seems that Jesus was drawing Peter into this discussion by asking the same question three times: Do you love me? Was Jesus making a point to Peter and the others who were listening? Was Jesus pointing to a higher level of love that He knew was going to be possible once the Holy Spirit resided inside His followers? Could it be that Peter’s answer was as honest as he could be; his love for Jesus was not what it needed to be at that time?
Interestingly, when Peter wrote his first book and speaks of love for Jesus, he uses the verb that Jesus used. 1 Peter 1:8 indicates Peter’s transformed heart—being filled with the Holy Spirit—to love Jesus as He wants to be loved: ardently, supremely and perfectly! (Continued)
Father, I want to love you with a sincere and perfect love! Fill me with yourself; create in me a heart filled with perfect love. In Jesus’ name, amen.