All For Love – Hillsong
Condensed from Missions Course (2008).
Why did Jesus ask Peter “Do you love me?” three times?
Peter had denied his Lord three times, although he had sworn that he would never even leave him. Succumbing to human nature, he failed where he had boasted he wouldn’t fail.
But the events had changed Peter and he sorrowfully humbled himself. Jesus knew this as he could read hearts, but the disciples didn’t know yet of Peter’s transformation. So as Jesus sought to restore Peter, he asked him three times if Peter loved him.
Just as he had denied his Lord three times, Jesus gave Peter three opportunities to confess him publicly (and be restored to his fellow disciples). He asked “Simon, do you love me?”
There are two Greek words translated “love” in this passage – agape and phileo. The first one is unconditional love, a self-giving love that seeks the highest good of the other person without asking anything in return. The second one is a friendship love. Jesus used the agape word the first two times that he asked Peter the question, and each time, Peter answered with the phileo word.
So the third time, Jesus used the phileo word as though to say, “Peter, if that level of love is all you’re capable of, I’m willing to meet you there.” And so Jesus asked the same question a third time in a way that Peter could answer honestly.
(Although at the moment, phileo was all that Peter had and was capable of giving, he later received the fuller understanding of agape love from the Holy Spirit and used it several times in his epistles.)
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A blessed week-end to all!