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Thursday, July 04, 2002

Edifier du Jour-John 21:15-19
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"
This exchange is clearer in the Greek, for in the first two "Do you love me?" statements, Jesus is using agape ( the all-out, no-reservations love) and philios (brotherly love) in the third, while Peter responds with philios in the first two and agape in the third. Very often, our love of God is rather lukewarm, like the Laodiceans. That kind of love that's more of a like, a mild preference, makes God want to barf; the word "spit" in Revelation 3:16 would be better translated vomit. The exchange between Jesus and Peter reminds me of how often I have pitched my tent in Laodicea and how often I fail to truly love God. Unlike Sally Field, God's not going to get excited over the fact that we like him. We're supposed to all-out agape Him, but we only get there by drawing close to him and allowing the Holy Spirit to show us the agape flowing from Him.

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