He asked him the third time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?” he said, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You.” Feed My sheep,” Jesus said. John 21:17 HCSB
I love my four children with unconditional, self-sacrificing love. I would be willing to die for them. They may do something that would cause me to be disappointed in them, but there is nothing they can do that would cause me to stop loving them.
The first two times Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love Me?” He used the Greek word “agape,” which means “self-sacrificing” love. The first two times Peter responded with the Greek word “phileo,” which is translated “brotherly love”. The third time Jesus used the Greek word “phileo,” basically asking, “Do you at least love me as a friend and brother?” After proclaiming that he was willing to die for the Lord, Peter had denied that he even knew the Lord three times. Peter may have been afraid to make a commitment to “agape” love, an unconditional love, therefore he used “phileo” love in response to Jesus’ questions. It grieved Peter when Jesus lowered His request to “phileo” love instead of “agape” love.
Challenge: How would you respond if Jesus were to ask, “Do you ‘agape’ Me?” Would you be able to respond with unconditional love or would you be like Peter and respond with brotherly love?