Do You Love Me?


Last weekend the message at Southbrook was about the apostle Peter. We’re in a “Heroes” series right now and he is definitely a hero of mine—maybe my favorite.




Because I mess up a lot. Peter messed up a lot. But the cool thing abut Peter was that He kept trying. And the even cooler thing about God is that he never stopped loving!


It seems Peter just couldn’t out fail God’s grace. And he sure seemed to give it a valiant effort at times. Even after the ultimate failure—denying Jesus 3 times in a row—Peter still finds Jesus pursuing Him with forgiveness and mercy.


That’s powerful!


In the last recorded conversation between Peter and Jesus there is an oft misunderstood interchange that we really need to see for what it really was.



15After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

   “Yes, Master, you know I love you.”

   Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

 16He then asked a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

   “Yes, Master, you know I love you.”

   Jesus said, “Shepherd my sheep.”

 17-19Then he said it a third time: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

   Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, “Do you love me?” so he answered, “Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love you.”

   Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. John 21:15-19

The word that Jesus uses in the Greek is Agapeo and it is the strongest type of love there is. It is the kind of love God the Father showed in giving up His only Son to die for our sins and the kind of love Jesus showed in being willing to go. The first two times that Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, it was with this word.

Peter, however, responds with the word, phileo, which is a love of a lesser degree. It refers to the type of emotions that correspond with something that is appealing or attractive or pleasing to the one doing the loving.

But before you get down on Peter think about why he might not have been able to muster the higher form of love.

1.     He had denied Christ 3 times

2.     He was convinced that he was unworthy.

3.     He was sure that Jesus was done with him.

I’m sure Peter wanted more than anything else to be able to respond like this, but he had fallen—and fallen hard. It would take time, but Peter would get there again.

And the reason he would was because Jesus’ love would end up being enough to carry them both through the valley.

It’s interesting to note that the third time Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, he switched from Agapeo to Phileo.

He was letting Peter know that it was ok for now.

He was meeting Peter right where he was—right where he needed to be met.

God is so good to us!!