Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Do you LOVE me?
The other night, Tim was showing a friend how to study the original Greek words in the Bible and used this passage as an illustration. I was doing something else but began to listen as Tim read these words to his friend as an example. Then tears came to my eyes as the Word of God penetrated my soul...
"This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead. After breakfast Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love [AGAPE} me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," Peter replied, "you know I love [PHILEO]you." "Then feed my lambs," Jesus told him. Jesus repeated the question: "Simon son of John, do you love [AGAPE] me?" "Yes, Lord," Peter said, "you know I love [PHILEO] you." "Then take care of my sheep," Jesus said. Once more he asked him, "Simon son of John, do you love [PHILEO] me?" Peter was grieved that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, "Lord, you know everything. You know I [Phileo] you." Jesus said, "Then feed my sheep. The truth is, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked and go wherever you wanted to. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will direct you and take you where you don't want to go."
Jesus said this to let him know what kind of death he would die to glorify God. Then Jesus told him, "Follow me."
I have spent some time studying this passage because I really felt God using it in my life.
This is kind of a strange passage unless you know the original words used that bring it even more to life. When Jesus asks Peter, "Do you love me?" The word Jesus uses for love is AGAPE and the word Peter uses is PHILEO.
So, Jesus says... "Peter, do you AGAPE me more than these?"
Agape love: A deep divine, fervent, total love. A self-sacrificing love. A love that is given without anything expected in return. Pure, selfless love.
It means to choose to seek the best for the other. This is a love based in the mind. We can choose to show agape love by actively thinking about, and deciding how we act.
When it says 'more than these', I am not exactly sure what Jesus was referring to..
Maybe the fish in Peter's net? success in his profession? security or the 'good life'? Maybe He is referring to the other disciples?
Peter's reply was "Lord, you know I PHILEO you."
Phileo-A fondness based in the heart. What the Greeks meant by Phileo love is what we normally think of the words "brotherly love" meaning today.
Peter's answer is guarded. The third time Jesus uses Peter's word... Phileo... and Peter is grieved. Why was he grieved? Well, again let's speculate... did he recognize his superficial love for the Lord and his failure to love Him with his ALL after following Him for 3 exciting years and seeing the miracles, the power, and the glory of God? Was it his inability to speak the word AGAPE? Is Peter overcome with the reality of his weakness?
I cannot even describe to you how I relate to Peter. How I feel as if God is asking me the same question.
"Stephanie, my daughter, do you AGAPE me?"
"Lord, You know I, um.... I, um.. Phileo you."
"No, my beloved, do you AGAPE me?"
"Oh, Lord, you know I phileo you but I really love comfort and health and that I wish you would answer my prayer for healing so bad. You know how I love Tim and the boys and what if you took them from me? I am so weak. I want to AGAPE you... but really, I don't think I do. Lord, please help me. Give me the faith and the strength to AGAPE You with all my heart, all my soul and all my mind. I want to love You when the earth gives way underneath me even if all my hopes and dreams are taken.
A love that isn't based on feelings, circumstances, and convenience. BUT I CAN'T...not on my own strength. Not without the power of Your Holy Spirit working in me. Not without the power of Your Word as my daily bread... energizing me and sustaining me.
I want to put my hope in what is unseen, not what is seen. To crave being USED by You more than being comfortable and "normal". I want to use the gifts You have given me. I want to KNOW You and be made into the image of Your Son. I want to see people come to the saving knowledge of Jesus and to tell of this wonderful love and life that I have come to know. I want to (really) believe that this life is just a "vapor".
("For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. James 4:14).
I want You to OPEN the door for the message of the gospel so that I may proclaim it clearly and with boldness... as I should...even if I am in 'chains'. (Col 4:3,4)
God, help me to AGAPE you... more than anything else.
Because you have rescued me from the dominion of darkness and brought me into the Kingdom of the Son Who You love, in Whom I have redemption the forgiveness of sins.
After all... You, first AGAPED me.
"For God so AGAPED the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
The pictures are by the incredible Rich Smith. Before I cut all my hair off. :( Still not sure I should have done that. Oh well.
I am in week 10 now. It has been ROUGH. But, God is faithful and baby is growing!
I joke that I am going to put pigtails in this baby's hair... even if it is boy #4.
I have missed blogging but haven't felt like doing anything except sleep or just try not to puke.
Thank you so much for all your amazing love you have shown me through prayer, emails, and GIFTS!!!! (Erin made me an amazing HAND-MADE quilt that I have to take a picture of and Mandy.. you sent me WAY too many amazing things). I am so so grateful for any prayer ANY of you have prayed for me.
I hope you are all encouraged. Please know if you are going through a trial, I would love to hear from you. I can tell you God is faithful and that He is at work. He will make a way in your darkness. He will give you treasures... many and BEAUTIFUL.
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary,they have divine power to DEMOLISH STRONGHOLDS." 2 Cor 10:3-5
**Crazy blogger won't let me change the colors or center this post. I am hopefully moving to a new site soon.