Peter’s Love

A while back I had heard a sermon by David Jeremiah about Peter’s reinstatement. I heard another one a couple of weeks ago by Dr. Michael Youssef. At first they seemed to contradict each other. The more I thought about the sermons and who Peter was; I realized the two different views really complimented each other. First we need to look at who Peter was. Before Jesus called him he was a fisherman. He had just had a bad night where he didn’t catch any fish when Jesus showed up. Jesus told him where to put the net and he caught so many fish it almost sank the boat. Jesus told him to come He would now fish for men. (Luke 5:4-11) From that point on Peter was gung ho head first in his love for Jesus. When Jesus walked across the water, it was Peter who stepped out of the boat and went to Jesus. (Matthew 14:22-33) When Jesus meets Elijah and Moses on the mountain, it was Peter who offered to build them shelter. (Matthew 17:4)When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, it was Peter who said “No, you shall never wash my feet.” When Jesus explained “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”, Peter said “Then, Lord, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” (John 13:5-10) When Jesus told the disciples “This very night you will all fall away on account of me”, guess what, Peter was the first to speak “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” (Matthew 26:31-35) When the soldiers came to take Jesus away, it was Peter that drew a sword and cut off Malchus’ ear (John 18:10)
Peter was always there. He was always out front. Yet Peter denied Jesus when the time came. Imagine how Peter felt. Put yourself in his place. He had given his life to Jesus. He had been Zealous in his pursuit to please Him. Now here he is. He just blew his chance to stand for his beliefs. He just denied Jesus for the third time. On hearing the third denial Jesus lift’s His head and looks Peter in the eyes. Put yourself there. Jesus has already been beaten. You’ve already denied him twice. You’re scared they will take you and beat you too. Then the third person says you’re one of them I recognize your accent. You curse the man and say “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Then Jesus raises his head and looks you in the eye! You see the bruises on His face! The blood dripping off of Him! The sad, hurt look in his eyes! The pain he feels just screams at you through his eyes! You’ve failed! You go outside and weep. (Luke 22:54-62)
You go back to your old job. Oh how the days drag by! The guilt you feel! The emptiness! You can’t seem to catch any fish. Then as you head in for the night a man on the bank tells you to drop your net on the right side of the boat. You can’t even lift the net it’s so full of fish! In your excitement you dive in the water and swim to the shore. Now you’re looking into His eyes again. The look of hurt that was in His eyes the last time you saw Him flashes in your head. What does Jesus ask you “Peter, do you love me?” How do you answer that? Of course you love him, but how can you say I love you. You failed Him! You denied Him! Wow! What can you say?
Now let’s step back and look at what happens.(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!”
To properly understand what is said we have to look at the Greek Words. When Jesus says “Do you love me?” He uses the word agapaō(pronounce agape). It is a deep devoted love. It is the strongest of the four Greek words for love. When Peter responds he uses the word phileō. It means have affection for. Now picture again that this is you. You know the love you feel in your heart, but you have failed Jesus. Again he asks and both of you use the two different words. What could hurt worse than this? A third time Jesus asks “Do you love me?” This time he uses phileō. The bible says Peter was hurt. I imagine hurt does not even begin to describe what Peter was feeling. Then Jesus prophecies of your service and death. With two simple words you are redeemed. All is forgiven. Follow Me!
This is a beautiful picture of our coming to Christ. Especially if we have made mistakes after we have come to know Jesus. Did you notice when Jesus came to call Peter the second time. It was identical to the first calling. This was a new beginning for Peter. (John 21:1-10;Luke 5:1-9) Why did Jesus ask “Do you love me?” three times? So Peter would have complete forgiveness for the three denials. What a great and Marvelous Lord we have!
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