I read a story one time about a man whose wife suffered from the progressive debilitating disease of Alzheimer’s. Every day he would visit her in the hospital. One day a friend asked him why he went to see her every day…after all, she didn’t recognize him as her husband and she would never know if he didn’t come. His reply was, “yes, but I would know.”
Love. What is love? Very few people know the real meaning of love. Only a handful of people demonstrate love and even fewer ever experience it.
The dictionary says love can be a noun and describes love as an intense feeling of deep affection, or it can be a verb, feeling a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone.
Millions of songs, poems and stories have been written about love. We all desire to be loved by someone, but what is love, really?
Most people received the little folded up piece of paper in grade school with the hastily penciled, scribbled words, “Do you love me? Check yes or no.” We had to know if that special someone really loved us.
Many think of sex when they hear the word love, but love is not the puppy love we experienced in kindergarten or sex. No, love is much deeper than that.
So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the 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. John 21:15-17 KJV
Here we see Jesus speaking directly to Peter, impetuous Peter. When Jesus called Peter to be one of His disciples, he was an ordinary, uneducated, rugged, fisherman. Jesus called him away from his life of fishing for fish, to a ministry of fishing for men. Jesus called Peter to be a “soul winner” for the kingdom of God.
Jesus also changed his name from Peter to Cephas, which means, a stone. A stone is solid, rock hard, unmoving, stable, but Peter was anything but that! He was impetuous…meaning acting or done quickly and without thought: controlled by emotion rather than thought. That definition certainly fits Peter and many of us.
When Jesus came walking on the water, Peter, (and I believe, without thought), called out to Jesus to bid him to come. Jesus, said, “come” and Peter climbed out of that boat and actually walked on the water to Jesus until his mind kicked back into gear. He then looked around at the wind and the waves and thought, “what am I doing? I can’t do this! I’m just a mortal man!” That’s when he began to sink and Jesus reached out his hand and lovingly lifted him up.
Christians tend to criticize Peter for being impetuous, but the fact is, he was the only one who got out of that boat that day and he did walk on water! As far as I know, he is the only mortal man to walk on top of water besides the Son of God!
As long as Peter’s fleshly mind was out of gear, he walked on water. When his mind clicked back into gear, he began to sink. I believe that to walk in faith, we must not think in the natural realm, we must think in the spiritual realm and act in faith. We need to kick our minds out of the fleshly way of thinking and receive the mind of Christ. We need to think His thoughts and adopt His way of doing life.
Faith can move mountains and that is another subject for another day. Today I want to write about the love of Christ.
In the scriptures above found in John 21:15-17, Jesus has risen from the dead. Peter had lost hope, because Jesus had died. He even said, “I’m going fishing!” I believe Peter was through with the ministry thing and decided to go back to the family busy of fishing for a living. He forgot about everything he had seen and experienced when walking with Jesus. He decided, it’s over. Jesus is dead. My ministry is finished and I’m going back to doing the ordinary. Enough of this faith stuff! Then Jesus appears on the shore and ask if they have caught anything. They hadn’t so he tells them to cast their nets on the right side of the ship and they catch so many fish their nets broke!
When they arrive on the shore, Jesus has fish and bread cooked. This is when Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him. The third time He ask Peter, “Do you love me?”, something in Peter broke. He becomes a follower of Jesus, never denying Him again and so strong in faith, that nothing can shake him! His love for Jesus is stronger than death.
In later years, Peter dies a martyr’s death because he refuses to deny Jesus. Peter actually became rock solid in his faith, just as Jesus prophesied he would!
Do you love Him? There’s no love that can even compare to the love of Jesus! I wish I could write about it in such a way that every one who reads this blog post today would surrender to His unconditional, compelling love.
His love is amazing. His love is “agape love.” Agape is “love: the highest form of love, charity; the love of God for man and of man for God.” That is love.
The love of God for man is found wrapped up very tightly in one little package of scripture found in John 3:16. Look it up and read it if you’ve never done that.
God’s Holy Word is a love letter from God to man inspired and written by the Holy Spirit.
In closing, I leave you with this thought, “God can take something ordinary and make something great.” That’s what love will do. When you realize how deep and how wide the love of God is for fallen man, you will never, ever, never, ever be the same again!
I hope and pray you will experience what “real” love is today.