Summary: Do you love Jesus, or do you just want to be His buddy?

Do you love me? For most of us saying we love Jesus is easy, but do you really "love" Him?

John 21:15-17 (NCV)

When they finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John do you love me more than these?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, 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.”

A third time he said, “Simon son of John do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus had asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” Peter said, “Lord you know everything; you know that I love you!”

He said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

This is a fairly familiar passage to most of us. Jesus restores Peter through the line of questioning. Tonight I’m going to take you a little deeper and show you what true love is all about. As a habit I don’t generally spend a lot of time teaching about the greek or hebrew words and their meanings, but in this case it becomes critical to understand the full meaning of the conversation.

First of all let’s take a look at some background:

Peter vowed to never leave Jesus’ side

Peter wanted to fight the arresting mob

Peter fled into the night

Peter denied….Jesus knew

Jesus was tortured and crucified

An empty tomb…an amazing story

The past few days of Peter’s life had been a whirlwind of failures and emotions. He had given the last 3 years of his life to follow Jesus, and when it was time to take a stand, he took a hike.

When The Going Gets Tough…The tough go fishing!!!

Like Peter, many of us return to what we know when failure comes around, but thank God, Jesus Is Looking For You.

He wants fellowship with you. He wants to care for your every need. He yearns for your company.

Jesus offers Peter a warm meal and a pointed question:

Do You Love Me More Than These?

Now it’s time for a little lesson in Greek. There are three Greek words translated "love" in the english language. Each of these words has vastly different meaning.

Eros – Physical or erotic love

Phileo – Brotherly love or friendship

Agape – God’s love…sacrificial in nature

Not The Response We Would Hope For. Jesus asks Peter for "agape" love and Peter offers "phileo." Literally the question was "Peter do you love me enough to sacrifice everything?" Yet Peter literally answered "Yes Lord, You know I’m your friend."

A question of devotion, A response of camaraderie

Another let down. Fortunately for Peter and the rest of us Jesus meets you where you are, in spite of who you are.

The deeper question being asked by Jesus was "Who will go?" The same question posed before the prophet Isaiah – Isaiah 6:8

Isaiah 6:8 (CEV)

After this, I heard the Lord ask, “Is there anyone I can send? Will someone go for us?”

“I’ll go,” I answered. “Send me!”

And similarly, "Who will stand?" – Daniel 3:15b-18

Daniel 3:15b-18 (CEV)

“…If you bow down and worship the statue when you hear the music, everything will be all right. But if you don’t, you will at once be thrown into a flaming furnace. No god can save you from me.”

The three men replied, “Your Majesty, we don’t need to defend ourselves. The God we worship can save us from you and your flaming furnace. But even if He doesn’t, we still won’t worship your gods and the gold statue you have set up.”

The question for you tonight is "What is your love commitment?" Are you willing to lay down your very life, to sacrifice it all for Jesus, or do you just want to be His buddy?"

I want to love Him with sacrificial love, but I don’t know how. Maybe that is how you feel right now. It is vital to remember that transformation comes from within. The refining fire of the Holy Spirit will purify and shape you. Complete surrender is the place to start. Tell Jesus yes to all that He asks and be willing to sacrifice it all for His glory.

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