Living for God in Mutual Love
As with what happened last week this has turned out to be longer than I expected, so will break this into section and post at 8 am, and 8 pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
I Peter 3:8-12, 18, 21; 4:1-11
After Christ’s resurrection several of the disciples while waiting to see Christ decided to go fishing. It was another time in which experienced fishermen had spent the night fishing and had caught nothing. As they neared shore, Christ asked them to throw down their nets on the other side of the boat. As happened early in Christ’s ministry, the net when cast down, became full of fish.
Later while the group of them eat breakfast, Christ asked of Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these” (John 21:15)? Christ is asking Peter, look around me at your friends and fellow disciples, “Do you love them, or do you love the life of a fishermen more then you love me?”
It is important to note that the word used for love in this case is the word Agapao/ag ag ah o. In the original Greek it puts it this way, “Simon Jonah, love Me more than these?” Christ is asking Peter, I see the way you are with your friends and the comradery between you. There is love between you an agape love, do you love them more than me?
Peter’s response was quick in vs 15, “You know that I love You.” You know my friendship with you, Jesus the son of God, is deeper than deeper than my friendship with others. We know this by the word Peter used for love was different than what Christ used. Peter used the word Phileo / fil eh o which means a deeper more physically type of love. A love that goes beyond the surface.
A second time, Jesus asked Peter the question, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me? Christ’s use of the word Love is the same in verse 16 as it was in verse 17, but Christ is no longer including others, instead he is directly asking Peter, “Do you love me?”
Christ is asking in the same manner that a wife will ask her husband after they have a disagreement. No comparing to anything else, the wife simply asks of her husband, “Do you love me?”
Although the same word for love is used by Christ, the intensity of what he asks has increased and Peter’s response, shows Peter understands the escalation of the question. Yes, Lord; You know that I love you.” Peter again uses the more intense, word for love as he did in verse 16.
Verse seventeen, “He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’” Christ now uses the same word Peter has used to describe the deep physical and emotional type of love, “Peter, oh Peter, do you loooove Me?”
Peter was visibly upset and hurt that Christ would have to ask him the same question three times. I can just hear Peter cry out “Lord you know all things; You know that I love You.”
Before we move on, I want to point out that Christ’s response to Peter’s saying he loves Him intensifies with each time it is asked. In verse 15 Christ answered Peter by saying, Feed My lambs.” In verse 16 it becomes “Tend My sheep.” And finally in verse 17 it is “Feed My Sheep.”
For this reason, up to this point in First Peter love lies at the core the very center of the Christian’s experience. Peter has laid the foundation by stating, If you love God with a deep down personal and intimate love. A love that goes beyond just friendship, then in the way you view government, you view the relationship between slave and slaveholder (employer and employee) and they way you treat your spouse will all be changed for it will be based upon love. A love that is born of the Spirit of God. As one author has put it, Love is the goal of faith (II Peter 1:5, 5), and love is the characteristic of interactions between Christians (I Peter 1:22; 2:17; 3:8)
If we truly love God, love God with a deep personal love that is only found between a husband and wife, then among our human relationships there should be genuine mutual love, a love that should lie at the core of all our earthly relationships.