LOVE By Daniel Jacome
Love is such a magnificent expression of emotion. It is something everyone longs for yet it is constantly misunderstood. Love is the underlined theme in the Bible. It is such a deep emotion that the ancient Greeks had six words to describe it. This is significant to consider, due to the fact that the New Testament was written in ancient Greek. The Greek where not the only ones to express love with such depth in their language. Ancient Persian has 80 words to describe love, Sanskrit 96, and in English just one (something to think about). In reading an article in thehuffingtonpost.com Sheryl Paul was quoted saying that Eskimo’s have 30 words for snow. It is life-and-death to them to have exact words for the element they live with so intimately. You see, the Greek the writers of the Bible used was excellent to express the words of Jesus. One interesting conversation was recorded in the Gospel of John that reveals the use of the word love in a very interesting context.
“15When they had finished eating, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love Me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” He answered, “You know I love You.”
Jesus replied, “Feed My lambs.”
16Jesus asked a second time, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered, “You know I love You.”
Jesus told him, “Shepherd My sheep.”
17Jesus asked a third time, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?”
Peter was deeply hurt that Jesus had asked him a third time, “Do you love Me?”
“Lord, You know all things;” he replied, “You know I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.
18 Truly, truly, I tell you, when you were young, you dressed yourself and walked 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.” 19Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.
After He had said this, He told him, “Follow Me.”
Jesus and the Beloved Apostle
20Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them. He was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper to ask, “Lord, who is going to betray You?” 21When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
22Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain until I return, what is that to you? You follow Me!” 23Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. However, Jesus did not say that he would not die, but only, “If I want him to remain until I return, what is that to you?”
(John 21:15-23 BSB)
In this passage of scripture, a conversation ignites between Jesus and Peter. Jesus asked Peter a simple question, “Peter do you love me?” and Peter answered. “yes Lord, you know I love you.”. Nothing too exceptional about this dialog, right? On the surface it seems that Jesus wants to know if Peter really loves Him and three times Peter says, “yes, I do!”. However, if you consider the context of the conversation from beginning to end and most importantly look at the original language used for the word Love, you find something interesting. The word that Jesus uses for love when asking Peter,” Do you love me?” is agapao. This word refers to a deep love, an unconditional love. A love that holds no record of wrongs and considers the welfare of others. Peter response to Jesus question uses the Greek word, phileo. This word expresses love, as a love one has for a friend, to be fond of, to approve of, to treat affectionately or kindly, to welcome or befriend. Peter was saying, “of course Lord, you are important to me”. See, the two appeared to be saying the same thing but in reality they weren’t. Towards the end of this section of scripture, Jesus tells Peter, the kind of death he will have. This is important context to consider when looking at that conversation. We establish that Jesus isn’t just asking Peter if he loves Him, He is asking him, how deep do you love me. Now consider Peter’s future death, and the picture becomes clearer… Jesus is asking him, “Peter do you love me enough to die for me?”. Jesus didn’t spend much time predicting the death of His disciples but in this particular occasion He did. Jesus was very intentional in letting Peter know that he was going to Glorify God in death! See, Jesus definition of love is not singular, it encompasses everything that love is and the ultimate expression of love is not in words but sacrifice! So when Jesus ask us, “Do you love me?” He is saying, “are you willing to sacrifice your will, your desire, your life, for Me?”.
“‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”(Matthew 22:37-40 NLT)