[14APRIL2012] Eastertide Devotional Series
I will be posting this devotional series as part of my Eastertide reflections for the next three weeks (see this link for other installments in the series). Each week of this devotional series focuses on a specific theme (week one: brokenness, week two: repentance, and week three: renewal). I hope you’ll enjoy the series and I invite you to comment here on the blog or email me direct; I would love to hear your thoughts.
Brokenness: Week 1 | Day 6
Scripture Reading: John 21:1-25
This is another densely packed chapter of Scripture and there are many points to reflect upon, but our focus for this meditation takes place in verses fifteen through seventeen. This is a very curious exchange between Jesus and Peter. I’ve heard quite a few sermons and read an equal number of studies about this conversation, but none of them really addressed something I noticed that convicted me of my own brokenness. Our English translations of the Bible translate the Greek word Agapao to love. Likewise, the Greek word, Phileo, is also translated to love. Both words are used in the following dialogue. I have put in parenthesis the proper placement of the word used
15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love (Agapao) me more than these?” ”Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love (Phileo) you.” ”Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. 16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love (Agapao) me?” ”Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love (Phileo) you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. 17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love (Phileo) me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love (Phileo) you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.
The difference between these two words, Agapao and Phileo, are very important. Agapao is the love described by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13. It implies complete devotion at minimum and infers perfect and godly love at best. Phileo love was most often used in context that might be understood as close friendship or “brotherly” love. It is in the distinction and the difference between these “two loves” that I see my own brokenness.
The specifics of Peter’s circumstance are not the point of my reflection, but the correlation of how I might respond to Jesus’ questions is. Truthfully, Jesus does ask each of his followers the question; “Do you agapao me more than these?” While I like to think I am unerringly and totally devoted to Jesus, I might arrogantly answer him, “Yes, I agapao you, Jesus.” The more I reflect upon my “love” for Jesus, the more I think I fall into the phileo category. I continue to wrestle with issues of obedience and complete faithfulness. I put my personal needs before Jesus every time I waver in my devotion. Is this agapao love? Probably not…my brokenness still presents itself as a stumbling block for me. Thankfully, like Peter, Jesus is willing to meet me where I am as I surrender myself to grow in His grace and His agapao love.
Consider the state and depth of your love for Jesus today. Does your love lean more toward phileo or agapao? Are there areas of your love that Christ is calling you to grow more faithful in today?
Our Prayer: Father God, you have enabled us through your Spirit to love You with a devoted heart. You promised that You would change our old heart, replacing it with a heart that could and would love You with a perfect love. Lord, I fall short of this agapao love at times when I think of myself before thinking first of You. I pray that Your Spirit would help me overcome these shortcomings, so my love might be more faithful and I would love You the way You deserve to be loved and the way You love me. Amen.