This is a passage in Scripture that we have heard and referred to a lot. I remember being in Israel a few years ago and standing where they believe the spot was that Jesus cooked the disciples breakfast.
When they had finished, Jesus asked Peter a series of important questions. Peter undoubtedly was still recovering from the denial of Christ. Even though he had felt restoration, he had not forgotten.
Jesus asked three questions. Many believe this parallels the three denials of Peter. Remember Peter’s bold statement prior to the denials?
But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” Matthew 26:33-34
Now Jesus asks the question, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” You said even if all fall away, I will never fall away. Do you love me more than they do? Peter responds, you know that I love you. Jesus replies then tend to my lambs, care for my flock.
Jesus asked Peter the same question two more times. Each time Peter replies with the same answer and Jesus tells him to tend to His sheep. Peter gets upset because Jesus asks him three times if he loves Him. Any of us would be.
Each time Jesus asks “do you love Me”, he uses the Greek word Agape` – meaning do you love me completely asking nothing in return. The first two times, Peter replies with the Greek word Phileo, meaning I love you like a friend; as you love me I will love you back. But after the third question, after undoubted remembering the three denials and being grieved, Peter replies with I Agape` You. I love You without reservation.
What if Jesus asked you today? Do you Agape` Me? Do you love Me without reservation – holding nothing back. What would you reply? He’s asking.
Remember what He told us in Matthew 22:37-38:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.
By: Tim Parsons