My heart is full of love and desire for you.
So come on down and do what you got to do.
You started this fire down in my soul.
Don't Leave Me This Way, Thelma Houston, 1976
Do you love God? Do you really love God? Do you love God? Those are the questions that Jesus asked Simon-Peter. "Simon, do you love me?" Three times Jesus asked Peter this. Each time Peter said yes. Why did Jesus ask Peter three times?
Some mark the significance of the fact that Peter had denied Jesus three times during Jesus' trial before the Crucifixion. Peter, so full of ego, had said he would lay down his life for Jesus. Now just as Jesus predicted, Peter would deny Jesus 3 times before the rooster crowed to save Peter's own life.
But there is more significance to this story. The Greek language has several words that we translate into love. Phileo is friendship or care, while agape is truly love. Jesus asked Peter the first two times "Do you love (agape) me?" and Peter answered, "Yes, I care (phileo) for you." The third time, Jesus asked if Peter "phileo" cared for him, realizing that was all Peter could offer. Still Jesus charged Peter to take care of his Sheep (his people).
We often exclaim to Jesus, "My heart is full of love and desire for you, So come on down and do what you got to do, You started this fire down in my soul." But we are like Peter, full of ego and gusto, but easily swayed. Jesus accepts us even with our weaknesses, like he did Peter. But Jesus challenges us to change. We ask "Don't leave me this way. I can't survive. I can't stay alive without your love."
Jesus agape loves us. And even when we only phileo care about him, he takes us in our weakness and charges us with our call for his kingdom. We don't have the ability to love like Jesus. But he loves us anyway. And that's a great thing. "Cause only his good loving can set us free!"
1. Do you care for (phileo) or love (agape) Jesus?
2. Would people who know you answer the same way you did? Why or why not?
3. Even in our weaknesses, Jesus still has ministry for us. What ministry are you doing to show your phileo and agape for Jesus?
Dear Lord, I want to agape love you! But I am a sinner, and that sin pulls me so many directions, I follow the wrong things, and end up only phileo caring about you. Forgive me. Please start a fire in my soul to make my heart full of love and desire for you, because only you can set me free. Thank you for agape loving me always. In Jesus name, Amen.
Rock On: Read the story of Peter & Jesus in John 21:15-19.
Video of Don't Leave Me This Way.
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