[do you LOVE me?]

Zee Gimon

I am Zee. I call myself the Observer because that's what I find myself doing most of the time - observe life and people around me. My blog is a Pensieve, similar to that of Dumbledore, used to keep the thoughts and random ideas that visit my brain.

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  • pastorherb

    Good post! There is, in my opinion, a purposeful switch in words on Jesus' part.

    I preached this passage a couple years ago, and was well into writing it, taking the exact same track you had until I came across an article about "philia" that brought a different light to the text.

    Agape is often described as deep love, fitting well with our expectation of God's love for us. But, I wonder how often we've allowed commentators to "color" our theology a bit too much. While Coelho defines agape as "love that consumes", more commonly the word is used as "general affectionate love". It is a love that loves regardless of return. That is why it is sometimes used for God's love of us. He loves us all, regardless of whether or not we choose to have a relationship with him. It is an incredible love, but it is not relational. In general Greek usage however, agape is sometimes used for inanimate objects like, "I love cars".

    Eros is a more passionate love that is sometimes relegated to the sexual, although it really connotes "longing", not necessarily involving sexuality. Storge is the more parental style affection.

    Philia is often relegated to "casual love", like for friends. But, the root "phil" means of the same womb, which connotes being of the same mother. Additionally, philia is more commonly used as a relational term, while agape is typically used for less relational love. Interestingly, Jesus uses this term often to describe the relationship between he and the disciples. it is a love by choice. I love you because I want to love you, and because you return that love by choice. It is deeply relational.

    So, when I read that passage, I believe as you have stated that Jesus was intentionally trying to help Peter understand "how" he loved Jesus. But here is a paraphrase of how my new understanding of this passage may play out.

    ————
    Jesus: Peter do you care about me, regardless of how I feel about you?

    Peter: Not only do I love you, but I consider you a brother, you are dearer to me than a friend, as important as my own flesh and blood.

    Jesus: Peter are you sure that you care about me, regardless of how I feel about you?

    Peter: Jesus, you are hurting me – my love for you is more than that – I love you as myself (see Aristotle). You are dear to me, and I thought you felt the same! Aren't we brothers?

    Jesus: Peter, are you sure you love me as a brother, as your own flesh? Do we really have that kind of relationship?

    Peter: Jesus, how can you doubt? Yes, I know I denied you, but if I could I'd take it back! Of course I love you as much as a person could care about someone else – we are more than friends, more than brothers, we are of the same womb – not by birth but by choice. Yes, I love you – how can you not know this?

    Jesus: Peter, if we truly have that kind of relationship, then love my sheep that way too, and follow me wherever I go – don't abandon me again.
    ————

    Same introspection as you describe, just a different point of view on how this word-play may have unfolded.

    • that paraphrase really sheds a different light on the passage. thanks!

      it was also interesting, as i was looking into the meanings of the Greek love terms, i almost stared at the meaning of agape as "love for food"… and you also mentioned "love for a car"…

      hmmm… 🙂 more food for thoughts 🙂

  • cool – you mentioned food twice there. Hungry?

    • hahaha. actually… no. it's odd usually i am hungry around this time) but i guess my mind is overfed with thoughts and therefore the stomach doesn't get the priority 😀

      some tea would be great, but then it's 12AM over here, so i should call it a night…

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