Hebrews 12:14 ESV
Matthew 16:13-19 NKJV
John 21:15-19 NKJV
1 Peter 2:9 ESV
1 Peter 1:15-16 ESV
Hebrews 12:14 says, “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”
The Hebrew word for holy is Kodesh (root of Kadesh) and it means to be set apart for a purpose. When the purpose is knowing God, we set ourselves apart so we can know God.
That makes sense. If you want to get to know someone you need to spend time with them. Jesus knew that and so he set apart 12 disciples: Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him (Matthew 10:2-4). A group of women also followed Jesus, and they were set apart as well. The women were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Jose’s and Salome (who provided financially for Jesus), Joanna and Suzanna (who also provided financially), and there were other women who were not named (https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/who-were-the-women-who-followed-jesus.html).
In Matthew 16:13-19, Jesus asked His disciples an important question, “When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
This was Peter’s declaration and defining moment. His declaration that he fully believed that Jesus was the Christ, the long awaited one, the Son of God defined who he would become.
Scholars believe this conversation in Matthew occurred about a year before Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. That’s important because at this point the disciples would have probably been with Jesus two years (https://biblehub.com/timeline/matthew/1.htm).
We need to remember they didn’t just see each other one day a week. They traveled together. They ate together and slept together. They knew each other.
So, fast forward a year.
The disciples were there when Jesus triumphantly rode into Jerusalem. In Matthew 23, Jesus spoke out (at length) against the Scribes and Pharisees. It’s highly possible that’s when the Pharisees decided Jesus had to GO. Later that week, Judas made the deal to sell Jesus out for thirty pieces of silver and Jesus and the disciples had the Last Supper.
Jesus and the disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed while the disciples slept. Then Jesus was arrested and Peter sliced off a man’s ear (he was one of the High Priests Servants.) That was not a great holy moment for Peter.
Jesus left with the soldiers and the disciples scattered. There was a trial, of sorts.
On Friday, Jesus was crucified.
On Sunday morning when the women went to the tomb they found it was empty. Jesus was not there because He was raised from the dead.
After the resurrection Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. We read in John 21:15-19: “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.” 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.” 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. 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.” This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”
The interesting thing about this section of scripture is the Greek word Jesus used for love and the Greek word Peter used for love.
The first two times Jesus uses the Greek word ‘Agape’ which means means pure love, God’s love.
When Peter answered twice that he loved Jesus, scripture used the Greek word that he ‘Philo’ loved Jesus which is the word used to say you dearly love someone with brotherly love.
The third time Jesus asked Peter in John 21:17 if he loves Him, Jesus uses the Greek word Phileis which is a form of the word that means brotherly love. In other words, Jesus changed the question. This time He asked Peter if he loves Him with brotherly love.
Peter responded that he ‘Philo’ loved Jesus dearly as a brother. (Note that Phileis and Philo are from the same root word.)
Jesus then gave Peter the charge to FEED the sheep.
Why did Jesus change words from ‘Agape’ to ‘Phileis’ love when he asked Peter the third time?
Agape love is love God has for us and we are given for God.
The third time he answered Peter using the same form of the word for love Phileis and Philo. It meant I love you dearly with brotherly love. It’s the kind of love that unifies a community.
We aren’t told why Jesus changed the word describing the kind of love when he asked the third question. It does indicate Jesus changed the kind of love for a reason. I tend to think both kinds of love were applicable. Jesus needed to know that Peter loved him as the Son of God, but Jesus was also telling Peter He dearly loved him as a brother.
Jesus made His love for Peter personal.
Yes, Jesus is God. He loved Peter as a Child of God. Yes, Jesus’ love is personal. He loved Peter as a brother.
In I Peter 2:9, Peter wrote, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Jesus loved His people, the nation, the people. Jesus is our God. It’s for all of us.
Peter wrote in I Peter 1:15-16, “But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Jesus loves His holy brothers. It’s personal for each of us.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Love Jesus.
Experience Jesus as Son of God and love God. Then experience Jesus as your personal dearly loved friend. Both are true. Both are FOR you.
In God, Deborah