February 4, 2016
You Know I Love You
“You know I love you,” Peter implores Jesus. Something intimate is lost in translation of the restoration of Peter due to our overgeneralization of the word “Love.” In the original Koine Greek, Jesus is more specific. Therefore, looking at the original Greek words for love will be beneficial to deeper understanding of what is transpiring in the last chapter of John.
According to scholars, there are four (some say five) words the Greeks used in a manner that the word love is used in the English language. They are listed as, Phileo, Storge, Eros, and Agape.
Words of Love
Phileo is used in English words like, Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love and often references the love between friends. It expresses a strong bond between people who share common values, interests or activities.
Storge is used to denote family love, or even the love of a pet. It references the natural affection between kinfolk/ those brought together with a common bond.
Eros is a word that references the idea of romance and is often used between husband and wife. It did not carry the same sexual meanings that it does today in the word eroticism nor does it appear in scripture.
Ironically, the word agape is used the least amount of times by the ancient Greeks but is heavily used by writers in the scriptures. It is best defined as the love that serves regardless of changing circumstances. Another way of putting it is Godly love, or altruistic love. Agape is love because of what it does, not because of how it feels.
Encounter with Jesus
For instance, God so loved “agape” the world that He gave His only son (John 3:16). Let us look at what Jesus was saying to Peter and how Peter responded.
Jesus: Simon…do you love (agape) me more than these [fish?].
Peter: Yes, Lord; you know I love (phileo) you.
Jesus: Simon…do you…love (agape) me?
Peter: Yes, Lord, you know that I love (phileo) you.
Jesus: Simon…do you love (phileo) me?
Peter: [Grieved] “Lord…you know that I love (phileo) you.”
Peter’s response comes from the anguish of experience. “You know everything, and you know I love you.” There is no longer any doubt in Peter’s mind. Then Jesus tells him, essentially “You will agape me, and you will die for me. When you are old they will crucify you.” (when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will put a girdle around you and carry you where you do not wish to go. He said this to indicate by what kind of death Peter would glorify God. John 21:18-19)
Of all the causes we might give our live, in war or in peace, there is none more worthy than Jesus.
If you know that God loves you, you should never question a directive from Him. It will always be right and best. When He gives you a directive, you are not just to observe it, discuss it, or debate it. You are to obey it. —Henry Blackaby
Prayer: Thank you Lord for loving me and showing me how to love. May your love grow in me and be a light to others that draws them closer to you.
John 21:22 AMPC
Jesus said to him, If I want him to stay (survive, live) until I come, what is that to you? [What concern is it of yours?] You follow Me!
Read more Daily Exercises.