I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
Who doesn’t want to be Jesus’ friend, his best pal, his BFF? Sometimes, it is easy to slip into complacency in our relationship with Christ and become a bit too comfortable, familiar and frankly, lazy.
Good friends are often low maintenance and easy to hang out with because little is expected. Jesus calls us “friends” but His divine love for us calls us to a much deeper relationship than just friends.
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
Jesus asks Peter the question, “Do you love me?” with a word that describes the Divine Love of Himself. God’s Love is so different than anything we can achieve on our own. Agape love centers on a moral preference; it’s what God prefers. It is an unconditional, eternal commitment to love us. It is a rich, complex, supernatural love that compels us to want to do what he wants us to out of our love for Him.
Peter responds to Jesus with the Greek word philō:
This is the intimacy of a true friendship, which forms as an unmistakable bond between two people. It is characterized by a strong connection, warmth and closeness of friends. Peter’s response each time is with the kind of love that is described in the Greek as an affection for Jesus but not the kind of love that Jesus was referencing.
When we compare all of our human relationships against the standard of God’s Love, where do we fall?
The Greek words stir my soul and quickens my heart because I can see myself answering as Peter did before I knew the Lord intimately.
“Lisa, do you agape me? With the kind of love I prefer?”
“Yes, Lord, I philō you! You are my best friend for sure!”
This was a moment; both Peter and I have had wasted moments. Have you?
How many times have I lost another opportunity to grow deeper in my relationship with Christ and experience God’s True Love? How many others have not come to know Jesus because I was too comfortable in the friend zone?
How many times will He have to ask before I drop to my knees and say, “Yes, Lord! I agape You, and I will feed your sheep!!!