Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Greatest Love

John 21:15-19

This morning, as I was praying I found myself thanking God for His amazing love.  But then I was struck by the reality that I cannot completely comprehend His love, but I can be thankful for the little I do understand.  I understand that as my Creator, He loves me affectionately as His creation.  I understand that He loves me enough to make a way for me to still have a relationship with Him through Jesus' sacrifice.  I understand that He loves me greater than I can love my own children and husband.  Just this reality blows my mind away - that my Father's love is greater than my greatest love.  No matter how much and great I love God, His love will always be greater.  The verses I am looking at today talks about love for our Savior; please turn to John 21:15-19.

I have said so many times on this blog that I am not a biblical scholar, and I have not studied Greek or Hebrew.  However, we have such wonderful resources available to us that can help expand our understanding of the Bible (or create more questions) and I believe that we should use them.  Since I have heard so many sermons on these verses, I already knew that there are two different words that is translated as love in English.  The first word is the word Jesus uses in His first two questions that He asks Peter - agapao.  This is a love that signifies a deep fondness for someone or to love dearly.  Peter answers Jesus with phileo, which also means to love, but it can also mean to show signs of love (such as a kiss).  This has me thinking a lot this morning.

This short little conversation goes pretty deep, doesn't it?  I've heard that Jesus asks three times to rectify the three times Peter denied Him during His trial.  Maybe some of the different wording is because Peter was trying to say that there was no way his love could compare to the love of Christ.  Just as our greatest love cannot compare to the vastness of God's love for us; Peter knew that his love for Christ did not equal Christ's love for Him.  But the thing that is interesting is that the last time Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him, He also uses the word phileo.  Right after that, Jesus tells Peter of how he will die and then gives the command, "Follow me."

Since phileo can also mean to show signs of love, we see that it can be looked at as an active love.  We know that we cannot just go and kiss God right now in our physical sense, so how can we show signs of our love?  Jesus tells us this in John 14:23, "Jesus replied, 'All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.'"  Jesus uses the word, agapao in this verse and is telling us that our greatest love for Him is to do what He says.  The signs of love we express to God is to obey and follow Him.  That is our greatest act of love for our Creator.

How can you show God your love for Him today?

This post is linked with Thought Provoking Thursday and Proverbs 31.

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