Blog In Audio:
Today I am again enjoying being home for a bit. We had a great time in church yesterday. Pastor Jonathan gave a great word on embracing what we are anointed to be. His word to us was from the words of Isaiah concerning Jesus and the body of Christ. We are anointed for good news, but we are not anointed for bad news. We are anointed to bring life. He really took us through a great challenge of how to be true to who we really are.
God loves all people because He is the Father of all flesh. His love declares that all people belong, but our love for Him declares we believe. His love for us is an invitation to come home and our love for Him is a testimony that we are a home for His presence in our lives. The life that we live we live by faith towards Him. Our love for God is not merely a love by natural means. It is a love by supernatural power. That supernatural power is the result of God’s grace working in our lives. If we are honest with where we are, God will transform us by who He is. The work of God’s grace in our lives empowers us to truly love Him.
Peter, the disciple of Jesus, thought he loved Jesus, but real love had to be granted to him by the power of God’s grace. When Jesus was arrested and put on the path to His crucifixion, Peter denied Jesus three times. After the resurrection of Jesus, Jesus appeared to Peter to confirm the journey to true love. It is a journey of God’s grace.
John 21:15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
Jesus addressed Peter as Simon Peter – the ‘little rock’ who ‘bends like a reed’ or the ‘little rock’ who ‘hears’. His salutation to Peter no doubt touched the tenderness of Peter’s heart. Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him and He used the Greek word agapao, a giving love or a sacrificial love. Peter responded by using the Greek word phileo, a love that is a friend or affectionate toward another. The honesty of Peter was matched with the grace in Jesus’ words. He told him to ‘feed His lambs’. The key was the truth and honesty in Peter’s words and the New Covenant life in the words of Jesus. Jesus was empowering Peter with grace. Peter wasn’t expecting anything. He was being honest and the love of God was melting his heart.
Jesus asked Peter a second time, but this time His salutation was even deeper.
John 21:16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
His salutation to Peter was the same as when Peter had received the revelation that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God (Mt. 16:17). These words implied that Peter was the one who hears God by the Holy Spirit, as Simon means ‘one who hears’ and Jonah means ‘dove’, a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him this second time and He again used the Greek word agapao, a giving love or a sacrificial love. Peter responded again by using the Greek word phileo, a love that is a friend or affectionate toward another. The honesty of Peter was once again matched with the grace in Jesus’ words. He told him to ‘tend His sheep’. I believe that the key was once again in the truth and honesty in Peter’s words and the New Covenant life in the words of Jesus. Mercy was kissing the heart of Peter and grace was empowering him for the responsibility of life.
John 21:17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.
This third time Jesus changed the word that He used for love when asking Peter if he loved Him. This third time Jesus used the Greek word phileo, a love of friendship and affection. This is what caused Peter to weep. He knew that he wasn’t qualified. He wasn’t expecting anything and Jesus was giving Him everything. Peter responded in honesty by acknowledging to Jesus that he knew He knew all things and that he did love Him with a phileo love. Jesus acknowledged Peter’s acceptance of mercy by again empowering him with grace. He told Peter to ‘feed His sheep’.
Jesus then went on to tell Peter what His grace would do in Peter’s life. He prophesied of the day that Peter would die.
John 21:18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”
Church tradition says that Peter was crucified in Rome over twenty years later. On the day they crucified him, Peter requested that they crucify him upside down since he was not worthy to die in the same manner as His Lord. God’s grace had empowered the one who had denied Jesus to love (agapao) Him in his death. This is the power of New Covenant grace! Peter didn’t expect anything, but God empowered his life through everything. He was empowered to give his life for the Church and for the love of His Savior. Peter never demanded mercy or grace, he simply responded to the voice of his Friend with tenderness, willingness, and a heart to receive all that God expected of him. This is New Covenant life and the life-transforming power of God’s grace.
Ted J. Hanson
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Thanks Again – Ted J. Hanson
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