I. "SIMON SON OF JONAS, LOVEST THOU ME MORE THAN THESE?"
A. Jesus has some unfinished business with Peter.
1. In the hour of great trial, Peter failed the Lord.
2. There is nothing more discouraging than failing in our time of testing.
a. Especially when you had confidence that you were above the temptation.
b. You lose some of your self-confidence.
c. You begin to wonder if the Lord will ever use you or trust you again.
3. After they had dined, Jesus addressed Peter.
B. In the question, "We do not know what (these) are?"
1. Here is where it would be convenient if we had a video. We could then see what Jesus was pointing at or perhaps nodding towards.
2. One of the difficulties in scripture is that the tone of voice is not given, and many times that leaves us free to interpret what was really said or meant.
a. You can say harsh things in a joking way.
b. Much is implied by the tone of voice.
c. When God said to Adam, "Adam, where art thou?" What tone of voice did God use?
d. When Jesus said to the Syrophonician woman, "It isn't right to take the children's bread and give it to the dogs." What was the tone of voice?
C. Was the "these," a net full of fish?
1. Peter had been called to leave his nets and follow Jesus who promised to make him a fisher of men.
2. Was Peter's declaration "I'm going fishing," a turning of his back on the call of Jesus, hence the "Do you love Me more than these?"
3. Do you love Me more than success in your chosen profession?
D. Was the "these" the other disciples?
1. When Jesus had announced to the disciples that all of them would be offended because of Him, Peter had responded, "Lord, though they may all be offended, I will never be offended."
a. In a sense, Peter was declaring that he loved the Lord more than the others.
b. Peter, do you still maintain that your love for Me exceeds that of the others?
E. Here is where I believe that the Lord deliberately leaves us without a positive answer. For in all of our lives there is a "these."
1. With some, it might be one thing, with others something else, but there is a "these" in all of our lives.
2. That thing or interest, that rivals for my supreme love.
3. The question then becomes applicable to all of us.
II. THE QUESTION "LOVEST THOU ME." THE WORD LOVEST IS THE GREEK AGAPAS, WHICH IS A SUPREME LOVE.
A. This is the kind of love that Jesus professed to have for us. "Greater love (agape) has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
B. This, the kind of love that we are to have for God. "Thou shalt love (agape) the Lord thy God with all of thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."
C. There are other Greek words translated love.
1. Eros, love on the physical level.
2. Phileo, love on the emotional level. To be fond of, to have an attraction toward.
a. Philadelphia, phileo adelphos.
b. The word kiss is philema.
D. Thus, the use of the word agapas by Jesus is calling for the deepest love.
E. Peter answered Him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Now he did not use the word, agape, but the Greek word, philo. I have affection for Thee.
F. Jesus responded, "Feed My lambs." The Greek word for feed is (bosko) which is to feed. The lambs would denote the younger sheep.
G. Jesus said unto him the second time, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?" This is the very same question.
H. Peter answered with the very same answer.
I. However this time when Jesus said, "Feed My sheep." Jesus used a different Greek word translated feed. The Greek word poimaheeno, which is to shepherd, or tend, or watch over. The Greek word sheep is the more mature flock.
J. He saith to him the third time, "Simon son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?"
1. This third time Jesus used Peter's word, phileis. Do you have affection for Me?
2. Now Peter was grieved because the third time Jesus said, "Phileis."
a. He was grieved because he brought Christ down to his level, rather than be raised to His level. It is always a time of grieving when we force Jesus down to our level.
b. Why would Peter not confess the supreme love for Jesus?
1. Perhaps because he had led the defection of the followers of Jesus.
2. It was Peter that said, "I'm going fishing."
3. Jesus had said, "He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth, (agapown) Me."
4. In going fishing, Peter was not keeping His commandments.
K. Peter answered, "Lord, You know all things, and You know that I am fond of you." Peter stuck with his word even though it hurt.
1. It should be noted that when Peter wrote his first epistle he said, "Whom having not seen you love." There he uses the agapas.
L. Jesus answered, "Feed my sheep." Feed My mature flock.
1. The greatest task of the overseer of the flock who truly loves his Lord is to watch over, tend, and feed the flock of God.
2. In Jeremiah 3:15
, God promised to give them pastors after His heart that would feed them with knowledge and understanding.
3. There are multitudes of sick sheep in the church today because they have not been fed a nourishing diet.
4. God told Ezekiel to prophesy against the shepherds in Israel, "Woe unto the shepherds that feed themselves and not the flock."
5. Again in Peter's epistle we read,
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight [thereof], not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
Neither as being lords over [God's] heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.