HRCO Gesinskamp, Marcuskraal 4×4

The type of love Jesus taught was like nothing anyone ever experienced on earth. We all need to be reformed in our understanding and expectation of divine LOVE.

Most of our greatest hurts and offences is when we realize that our loved ones do not love us back ~ the way we love them. They do not reciprocate the sacrifices we have made, or worse, they openly betray us.
In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
The worst is most people do not know, value, recognize, or see you. They do not know your heart, or see your true value.

We all have a purpose, a mission and cause we dedicate our life to. Your purpose and vision in life is connected with what you most ultimately love. What you love most is where your heart is, that is where you will spend most of your time. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Mat 6:21)

Jesus’ own disciples struggled to really see, and understand what He was about.
What is the vision for your life?
Mat 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luk 9:18-20

What do people say about you? Who are you? Jesus asked His disciples: “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (Mat 16:13)

Peter had a revelation of who Jesus was: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Mat 16:16; Matt. 14:33; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20; John 6:69; 11:27; Acts 8:37; 9:20; Heb. 1:2, 5; 1 John 4:15)

Our love for God begins with a revelation of who He is. Awestruck and full of emotion we surrender our lives to Him. This personal revelation is the rock, foundation of the New Testament Church. He is not a religion, or a religious culture. The Samaritan Woman saw Jesus as the fountain of water that never runs dry – Joh 4:25-26. Paul saw that he was persecuting Jesus, on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:5). The man crucified next to Jesus, recognized that He was innocent (Lk 23:40–43).

The attack of the enemy is focused to tempt us to forget, deny, abandon what we saw. If he robs us of the invaluable divine revelation, we are without power and authority. People perish because of a lack of vision. Where there is no revelation (prophetic vision) the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law. (Prov 29:18).

On the other hand, we will never love the way God loves, until our love is tested. Our broken, incomplete, selfish, love must first be disclosed before we humbly seek to discover and receive His kind of love.

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.” (Luk 22:31-34). Under pressure and persecution he exclaimed; “Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” (Mat 26:69-75) The devil is out to kill and destroy your revelation!!

When one loses spiritual vision, you default to the old ways of the flesh. “I am going fishing” (John 21:3)

Because Peter verbally denied Jesus tree times, Jesus had to verbally restore Peter’s vision, calling and purpose three times  – self confession.

Agapé kind of love:

  • Love your enemies (Mat 5:44).
  • Love without receiving anything back (Mat 5:46). Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul mind and strength. (Mat 22:37)
  • Single focus – love God and mammon (Mat 6:24)
  • Gave only begotten Son (John 3:16)
  • A new commandment love one another as I have loved you.
  • Loves me and obey me (John 15:21, 23)
  • Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
  • By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:35)

Love Restoration

So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, 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, “Feed My sheep.” (John 21:15-19)

The English vocabulary is limited, for the word Love and Know, is actually different words in the Greek.

Jesus’ question would expose what was in his heart. “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” The verb “love” here is ἀγαπάω agapáō. The noun form of the word is agapé.

There is some debate about what the word, “these” in Jesus’ question refers to. The word could be either masculine or neuter. Many commentators argue that it is masculine and refers to the other disciples. The question would then be, “Simon, do you love me more than these other disciples?” Such a question would challenge his earlier boasting and force him to the humble position that he was no better than they were. However, this interpretation does not make sense in light of Peter’s answer which begins with, “Yes, Lord,” and the “yes” here is a strong affirmative, (i.e. “yes, indeed”). Considering the rest of Peter’s answer, and his earlier boasting, it is unlikely that he is still boasting to love Jesus more than the other disciples.

First Question – John 21:15

It is preferred that the word “these” in Jesus’ question to be neuter and to refer to all the fishing stuff that was there. The question would then be, “Simon, do you love this life of fishing more than me?” This interpretation fits the scene and explains Peter’s strong affirmation “Yes, Lord.” Peter did love Jesus more than those things.

Peter’s humility also comes out in his answer. The present scene and his remembrance of his earlier denial of Jesus proved that his love was not to the level of agape love. Peter had not been completely obedient to Jesus. He obviously was not ready to give his life, defending his not-knowing-Jesus stance with a vow, and later cursing and swearing!

Peter could not in good conscience claim to loved the way Jesus loved, so he uses a different word for love phileo. Peter claims to have strong affection for Jesus in the sense of friendship.

It should be noted that in even making this claim, Peter appealed to Jesus’ own knowledge to back up the claim. The word for “know” here is oida which speaks of the knowledge of information and facts.

Jesus’ answer to Peter is one of restoration. Jesus commands him, “Tend My lambs.” Jesus often used the metaphor of sheep to describe those who belong to Him and He does so again in these verses. The lambs are the young sheep which are the most vulnerable and need to be tenderly cared for. The word “tend” here means to “feed” as in “cause an animal to eat” and is translated that way in the NKJV & ESV. Jesus is commanding Peter to take care of the most vulnerable sheep of His sheep. Peter is to teach new believers about how to be a follower of Jesus.

Second Question – John 21:16

Jesus’ second question is direct without a comparison clause. “Simon, son of John do you love Me?” Jesus again uses agapo for love. Peter gives Jesus the same exact answer as the first time. “Yes, Lord: You know that I love You.” He again uses phileo – brotherly love.

Jesus responds by commanding Peter to fulfill additional responsibilities “Shepherd My sheep.” Shepherding takes into account the total care of the flock, not just the feeding. The sheep are more mature than the lambs. Jesus is entrusting to Peter the spiritual teaching and care of His followers including the mature ones. Peter could not do this unless he was also at least that mature. Jesus is affirming Peter that he is still useful to Jesus despite past failures.

Third Question – John 21:17

Jesus significantly changes His third question. “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” But this time Jesus also uses phileo for love as Peter had been doing. The text states that Peter was grieved over this. It was bad enough to be asked three similar questions, but this last time now even challenges the phileo love that Peter claims to have. This time Peter leaves off his affirmation of, “Yes,” and instead directly appeals to Jesus’ omniscience as the son of God. You know all things!! Only God is omniscient, and Jesus attributes this God-divine features to Jesus, the Son of man. Peter’s revelation gets restored!!

Moreover; Peter appeals to Jesus’ personal knowledge of him saying, “You know that I love you.” This time the word translated as “know’ is (γινώσκω ginṓskō) which refers to the personal knowledge that comes from relationship. Peter’s appeals to both Jesus’ omniscience and His personal relationship with Peter to know that what he is now claiming is true.

Jesus’ responds with a third command that affirms Peter’s responsibilities for Jesus’ flock. “Tend My Sheep.” Peter had failed, but Jesus has restored him and will use him to teach and lead His people. All of this would have taken place within the hearing of the other disciples.

Now Peter receives not only his calling restored back to him, but the power to love the way Jesus loved. “Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” Peter will one day give his life willingly and freely, being persecuted for His faith.

Oh Lord Jesus, show us the imperfections of our human selfish love, and produce in us the tested by fire love of God!

We seek to pray, love and bless those who hate us. We intercede for them; “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”