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do you really love me ?

Feb 29, 2008
Such similar words could be uttered by lovers in this month of hearts. But such words were not uttered by one lover to another, rather these words were uttered by our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in John chapter 21 verses 15 to 17.

The passage is somewhat a familiar one among Christians. However I believe that most christians has not fully grasped the meaning of the passage for failure to closely examine the meanings of the words used by Jesus Christ.

The story begins with Jesus and Peter having dinner. During that time, Jesus asked Peter if he loved him to which Peter replied in the affirmative. Jesus told then told Peter to "feed my lambs."

Afterwards Jesus again asked Peter the same question to which he replied in the affirmative and then Jesus told him again to "Feed my sheep."

The third time around, Jesus ask Peter the same question. But this time instead of answering "yes" the verse says that "Peter was grieved" He then said to the Lord that "thou knowest." Jesus then instructed him to "Feed my sheep."

Most people believe that Peter was grieved because Jesus asked him three times if he loved him. But I doubt if that is the case.

The key to understand the passage is to take a close look at the word "Love" as used by Jesus.

When Jesus asked Peter the first time if he loved him, the word used here is the koine greek word "agapao." This word describes the intensity or weight of the love that Jesus was asking from Peter. This is a pure or ideal kind of love. This is a love that is willing to die for another person. Jesus was asking Peter if he loved him so much that he is willing to sacrifice his life for Jesus.

The answer of Peter was "Yea Lord, thou knowest that I love thee." Here Simon Peter used the greek word "Phileo" referring to a love with a lesser degree than agapao. Phileo is oftend used for "brotherly love." Jesus Christ asked Peter if he loved him to the extent that he is willing to die for him, but sadly Peter only gave him his brotherly affection.

Jesus Christ asked Peter the second time, using the same word "Agapao" to which Peter replied with the same answer using the word "Phileo."

The third time around, when Jesus asked Peter if he loved him he did not use the word "Agapao." The word "Phileo" was used by Jesus. In other words the brotherly love that Peter has for Jesus was even questioned by him. In short Jesus asked Peter if he even truly loved him as a brother.

So now we now why Peter was grieved. It is quite obvious that Peter was not grieved because he was asked three times by our Lord if he loved him. The cause of his grief is because even the "brotherly" love that he offered was questioned by the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter then humbly replied that Jesus knows everything so there is no need to ask.

You can notice that in all three instances after Jesus asked Peter for his commitment of love, Jesus always asked him to do something for him. That is to feed his lamb and sheeps. We can see here that He was telling Peter that love must be translated into action and not just expressed by mere words.

The application for us is this, how much do we truly love Jesus Christ ?. Do we love him so much that we are willing to die for him? We may not be able to answer this question correctly considering that we live in a free country and we are free to worship God. But what if we are tortured for our faith in Christ? Are we willing to die for the name of Christ ?

Thanks be to God that we do not have to be tortured for our faith to prove our love for him. All He ask of us is that we be good examples to other Christians, to disciple them and help them grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
About the Author
Zigfred Diaz may not blog about love meanings everyday but he regularly write about several interesting topics including how to invest in the Philippine stock market, financial management, investments, as well as other informative topics Why don't you visit his blog today ?
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