When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these [others do—with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You [that I have deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. He said to him, Feed My lambs. John 21:15 (AMPC)
As I read this verse and contemplated on this conversation between Jesus and Peter, I began to wonder about some things. Peter had denied Christ and I am sure his heart was broken. Have you ever done something that you know was not good and felt the immediate conviction from the Holy Spirit? I have. I hate that feeling.
After the conviction and the prayer for forgiveness the feeling like you don’t measure up is overpowering. It seems like the feeling that you are not forgiven lingers.
I wondered about that as I read this passage. Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him with an agape love. Agape love is the strongest, selfless love that we can have. It is like the love that we are loved with from God. But Peter answered the question with a lesser love. He used the word phillia which means more of a friendly, affectionate love.
Did Peter answer with phillia instead of agape because after messing up he felt that he could never get to that point? Did he feel he was not worthy to even think that he could love Jesus that way? Did he doubt himself?
Jesus kept pressing and demonstrated to Peter agape love. He let him know that this was the reason he died on the cross. Because no matter how Peter messed up, he was forgiven. He does the same with us. No matter how we mess up, Jesus presses and demonstrates that we are loved with that unconditional, “I can’t believe it” kind of love. He demonstrated that when he died for us and he demonstrates it every single day when he speaks to our hearts.
Let me ask you. Do you love Jesus with that unconditional, passionate, one-of-a-kind love that he loves you? If not, what’s stopping you? Please don’t let it be because you messed up. That’s already been covered. Ask Peter.