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Today I would like to teach something from John chapter 21 that Jesus revealed to me - and it changed my life. It will change yours, too.

You know, so many Christians feel so disappointed with their walk with Jesus. They feel no joy in their relationship with God, specifically because they feel they just don't measure up to what God expects of them. They serve out of a heart that really wants God, but yet, something is missing.

Something is really missing. And I'm going to ask God to touch you right in that spot in your heart right now, just like He touched me…and you'll never be the same again!

Let's look at John 21:15: "So when they had dined, Jesus saith unto Simon Peter…." Now pay close attention here, or you'll miss out on the best part. Here's Simon Peter, back over there with the hundred and fifty and three great fish - he's a fisherman, you know, standing there staring at all those fish, and here comes Jesus walking over.

He put his arm around Simon Peter's shoulder and said, "…Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these (the 153 great fishes)?"

Here I have to bring out a very important detail that the Greek manuscripts bring out, that the King James completely overlooks, and that is the word "love."

These are three Greek words for love, that we just throw all into one. And on this omission, the impact of the story is completely lost to us. Here they are:
  • EROS: Sensual, or sexual, or physical type of love.
  • PHILEO: Brotherly love, friendship, kinship, you're my friend, I like you a lot.
  • AGAPEO: Or as we call it, agape love, unconditional, without limit, the God kind of love, simply put.
Jesus just asked, "Simon, son of Jonas, AGAPEO thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love (PHILEO) thee. Yes, Jesus, you know I'm fond of you, you're my friend, I like you a lot."

Wait…did you notice something here? The word Jesus used for love isn't what Peter responded with! "He saith unto him, Feed my lambs."

Verse 16: "He saith unto him the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (agapeo) thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love (phileo) thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep."

You know, Peter is just trying to be honest with Jesus. He had told Jesus that he was willing to die for him, I mean, Peter was solid! He walked on the water, you know…and Jesus said to him, "Before the cock crow twice, you will deny me thrice."

And he did, too. A lot like us, isn't it? Yes indeed, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Peter wasn't making any promises here he couldn't keep this time. And he still had a heart for fish, too, but not just any fish…great fish. Anyway, he was as much as saying to Jesus, "Jesus, I'd like to say I love you without limit, with 'agapeo' love, but frankly, it just isn't in me right now. This 'phileo,' this brotherly love, is the best I can muster. It's the best I have to offer you. It's all I got, Jesus!"

Verse 17: "He saith unto him the third time…" now pay attention here! Listen up, folks. Don't miss this, it's important "…Simon, son of Jonas lovest (phileo) thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, lovest (phileo) thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love (phileo) thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep."

Meeting You Where You Are
Here we see something astounding. Jesus knew Peter couldn't love him with God's kind of (agapeo) love, so He came down to Peter's level to ask him, "Do you have brotherly love for me, are you at least fond of me?" To which Peter replied, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I have brotherly love for you, I'm fond of you. That's the best I can do, Lord. I love you the best I know how."

And Jesus accepted that sacrifice of the Peter kind of love graciously, as only God can, with no condemnation or displeasure, and told Peter to feed His sheep. In Matthew 16:19 Jesus said, "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Isn't it amazing, that even though Peter denied even knowing Jesus three times, Jesus didn't ask for the keys back? My friend, even though you and I have failed Jesus many times, He hasn't asked us for the keys back, either.

Jesus is willing to meet you at the level of love you can give Him right now. But He will love you back with His agapeo love, which is unlimited, unconditional, and unlike anything you have ever experienced before.

So right now, just go to Jesus and say to Him:
Jesus, I love you as best I know how right now. And I believe You will accept my offering to You and perfect that love in me, and that You are in me, and I am in You. And if You are in me, how can I be any less than acceptable and beloved to you?

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the blood you shed for me; for the forgiveness of my sins, and for the stripes you took on your body. Thank you for healing my spirit, soul, and body. Be my Lord and my Savior, and fill me with Your precious Holy Spirit now and forever! Amen.
Copyright © Life Healing Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Jerry Baysinger
Web site: Life Healing Ministries
Jerry Baysinger was a twenty-one-and-a-half-year civilian employee of Missouri State Highway Patrol and operator of his own successful furniture repair business, when in 1993, he was diagnosed with five melanomas and liver cancer. Given a month to live, he resigned from the Patrol and went home to die.

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