JESUS SEES YOUR HEART
John 21:15-17 “15So when they dined, Jesus saith to Simon peter, Simon, son of Jonah, lovest me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonah, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonah, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him a third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”
What is the significance of Jesus asking Peter three times if he loves Him? It could be that Jesus was looking for a commitment of faith from Peter since this conversation took place after Peter denied knowing Jesus three times (John 18:15-27), but I believe the key word to study is love or lovest when looking for the significance. In these passages of scripture the word love or lovest is actually two separate Greek words. One is agapao (ag-ap-ah’-o) and the other is phileo (fil-eh’-o). The easiest way to define these two words is: agapao is with the heart, and phileo is with the head. So let’s take a look at the conversation between Jesus and Peter with this in mind. Verse 15, Jesus says lovest (agapao) me more than these? Peter replied thou knowest that I love (phileo) thee. Verse 16, Jesus says a second time, lovest (agapao) thou me? Peter replied again, thou knowest that I love (phileo) thee. Verse 17, Jesus asked Peter a Third time, lovest (phileo) thou me? Peter was grieved that Jesus said to him, lovest (phileo) thou me? And he said to Jesus, Lord thou know all things; thou knowest that I love (phileo) thee.
Does this mean that Peter was a fake or a bad person? No, it simply means that Peter was human and he was doing the best he could with his human ability. You see shortly after this, (Acts Chapter 2) on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came over Peter that his whole spiritual life was revived. From that point on he had an agapao love for his Lord and Savior. How do we know that? We know that by his actions and his obedient to the command that Jesus had given him, to go and make disciples, to baptize, to heal the sick, and proclaim salvation through Jesus Christ. So many Christians today have that phileo love for Jesus, they go to church every week, they associate with other Christians, they love Jesus in their head, but they haven’t experienced loving Jesus with their heart. Maybe at one point they did, but after time in a luke warm church or not going to church at all, that roaring fire of the Holy Spirit within them is now down to a pilot light.
Jesus is asking you now, do you love (agapao) me? When you woke up this morning did you pray to God that He would put someone in your path today that you could share the gospel with and lead to eternal life in heaven, or pray that He would put someone in your path that needed healing, comfort, or a shoulder to lean on? If not, you are answering Him, you know Lord I love (phileo) you. Jesus is asking you a second time, do you love (agapao) me? Have you invited anyone to church this week, or have you offered to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, or visit the prisoners and shut- ins (whether physically or spiritually)? Once again, if your answer is no, then you are saying you know Lord I love (phileo) you. So now Jesus is asking you a third time, do you at least love (phileo) me? Close your eyes and picture the hurt in His eyes as He asks you this; the same hurt that was in His eyes when He asked Peter the third time, do you love (phileo) me. Jesus wants your heart, He wants your heart so much that he gave His all for you. To give Him your heart is feeding His lambs; the lost and unsaved people. Giving Him your heart is feeding His sheep; the hungry, the sick, the naked, the prisoners, and the shut-ins.
Have you ever had a physical check up which revealed some problem that required medical treatment to revive your physical health back to normal? Jesus is giving you a spiritual check up right now. If you are feeling under conviction then it is time for some spiritual treatment. Its time to turn up the thermostat so that the pilot light inside you can ignite your Holy Spirit into a roaring fire. If you are not feeling under conviction then either one of two things is happening. Either you are taking up your cross daily and following Jesus. You truly love your neighbor as yourself. You sacrifice yourself completely, putting the spiritual and physical needs of others before your own wants, no matter their race, their religion, or their personalities; or your heart is so hardened that you will not let the calling of Jesus penetrate the depths of your soul. Remember that what ever your spiritual condition is, Jesus sees your heart! 1 Corinthians 5:10 says “For we must ALL appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”