It always gives me a giggle when people say something like, “Jesus was all about love.” And I think, ‘What Jesus are you talking about?’ Yes, one of Jesus’ characteristics, perhaps even His main characteristic was love, but He was absolutely serious about fulfilling God’s plan for you and me.
I ended Part One of this series with, "Jesus said, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than all of these?"”
Simon Peter remembered. He remembered the night he’d betrayed Jesus. “I love you, Jesus” Surely Peter wanted to believe it was true That thought was coupled with, I denied even knowing you? How can I possibly call that love.
Peter felt the sting of comprehending that the issue wasn’t going to go away. Tender Jesus, the Jesus who was all about love was confronting Peter with perhaps the most shameful moment of his life. He was being confronted with the night that he’d denied his master with curses.
The word that John uses to described Jesus’ question of love is “agape.” Agape love is the willed, volitional, decision to love. It is God’s love for us. Agape isn’t a love that’s based on merit or beauty or effort. Agape love is a commitment to love; it's a love that will be seen through to the end no matter what.
It was certainly obvious to anyone who knew what took place on the night of Jesus’ arrest that Peter wasn’t up to agape love, not at this stage in his life. So he replied,
“Yes Lord, You know that I love you.”
What Peter meant, what he could only mean in the face of the evidence is that ‘I feel brotherly or phileo love for you.’ This is a warm affection, an admiration. It’s the love of one good friend for another.
Tender Jesus, the Jesus who is all about love was not interested in brotherly love. Not at this point in HIS life. Jesus was soon to leave earth for ever and the issue at hand was commitment. Affection could wait.
“Peter, Feed My lambs.”
Can you imagine a stranger request? The man who ran from responsibility. The man who caved to fear. The man who turned tail and hid behind closed and locked doors was told, “Feed My Lambs.” Jesus, the teacher, Rabbi, and instructor was telling Peter to carry on where Jesus had left off. Plato describes a disciple as “A vessel so tightly sealed that not one drop of the leader’s teaching leaks out.” Now, Peter was being told to take the lead role in passing along the teaching of Jesus.
Who was Peter to teach others about commitment?
Does your life demonstrate a commanding knowledge of commitment to love?