The greatest two Commandments are to "love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ (Luke 10:27)” Love is foundational to salvation and to the Christian life. This presents us with a problem. Our culture struggles to understand love. We love everything from ice cream, to ball teams, to our jobs and our families. Surely these are not all the same type of love. The Greek language has multiple words to define love. The one most Christians are familiar with is Agape. This is a love that comes from God. A love that is experiential in nature. We know this kind of love because we have experienced it in our relationship with Jesus.
I John 21 we find an event in the life of Peter. He has denied Jesus publicly three times and has wept bitterly. Jesus came looking for Peter. When He finds him He starts asking questions. “Simon do you love me?” v15. “Yes, Lord; You know that I love you.” Three times Jesus ask this question and three times Peter answers that he loves Jesus. The problem in this dialogue is that Peter’s love did not match Jesus’ love. The English language does not show this well, but Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love (Agape) me?”. Jesus uses Agape twice and Phileo once. Peter responds that he Phileo Jesus. He has affection for Jesus. Peter’s love did not match Jesus’ love. Jesus’ love is unconditional and never ending. Our love changes over time and is based on our mood and circumstances. The third time Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, Jesus used Phileo. Jesus met Peter where he was. God knows our hearts. He knows that our love is imperfect. I am thankful that my relationship with Jesus is not based on my ability to love the way Jesus does. My relationship is based on His love for me, which is perfect. I will spend the rest of my life learning to love Jesus. I hope you will join me on this journey.