So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.
In the video, I cover most of what I discovered in my study of this passage 10 years ago, which led to this song being written. My study consisted of looking at the two different forms of the word used for “love” and something else that I didn’t mention – how each question Jesus asks Peter is different. There’s a different element to each question, which can be overlooked and blanketed with the popular observance of the fact that Jesus asks what appears to be the same question three times, which was no doubt deliberate on the part of Christ in regard to Peter denying Him three times. But there is sometimes more beneath the surface than what appears.
As I mention in the video, there is the love in the Greek form of agapao, which is a love from the heart, and then there is the love in the Greek form of phileo, which is more of a love from the mind.
1. In the first question, Jesus uses the word love in the form of the Greek word agapao (pardon me for not using Greek characters). He asks Peter if he loves (agapao) Him “more than these”.When you know that Jesus and Peter were sitting around a fire with some of the other disciples, it’s not difficult to know who the “these” were. They were the other guys…the pals that Peter was fishing with just before having breakfast with Jesus on the beach. Jesus was asking Peter if he loved Him (from the heart) more than these other guys. Peter’s reply appears to be one of assent, except the word he uses for love in his answer is a completely different kind of love. Indeed, it is the word phileo and Peter stresses to Christ that He “knows”. Perhaps he is suggesting that Christ “understands” his level of love? I don’t know, but I find the use of a few words here very interesting to say the least.
2. In the second question, Jesus uses the same word for love as before, but this time He asks Peter if he loves Him for just Himself. No others are in the picture this time. Just Christ. I found this interesting as well. The first question is one of, do you love me more than these people, this next question is just about Christ. Do you just love Me for Me? Am I enough? Again, Peter’s response is in essence identical to that of the first. He cannot use the same word for love as his Master and he again tells the Lord that He “knows”. And we come to find out that Christ very well does know and understand indeed in the third question.
3. In the third question, Jesus then uses the word for love that Peter has been using. Now here is something interesting that follows. Peter is grieved that Jesus asks this. There are a couple reasons in my mind that Peter is grieved. The first obviously being that Jesus has asked three times (which reminds Peter about his denials), but I also wonder if another reason might be that Jesus uses Peter’s word for love. This type of love is certainly not of the same quality and depth that Jesus had asked before. Maybe it makes Peter sad that he isn’t able to commit to the kind of love Jesus was previously asking of him? Those are just my own musings. At any rate, Peter is able to agree this time, adding that Jesus “knows all things”.
It’s just one of those interesting passages of scripture that transports me to that morning breakfast and makes me look at the whole situation a bit differently as I take it all in instead of quickly running through it without paying attention to the details. It’s a bit intriguing to me.
This song is a collection of questions that were prompted from my study of this passage. There is a part in the song that asks, “Do I love You, do I love You, do I love you?” I wish I could say that was intentional on my part and that I was being clever in light of the scripture this song was inspired by, but I cannot make any claim to that. It was purely put in as inspired by the Lord, and He gets the credit for tying that in to the passage. ;-)
I hope you enjoy this song and that it challenges you to not just have a form of love for the Lord in your head, but that it would be a true love from your heart that is devoted and deeply committed to Him.
All glory to Jesus,
“Do I Love You”
Words & music by Adriel Hong
1. Do I love You?
Do the depths of my heart
Express the words I pray?
When You search me through and through
Do I still belong to me
Or have I given myself wholly to You?
Oh Lord, do I love You? Oh, do I love You?
2. Do I love You?
Does my life reflect You
The way I say I want it to?
When You look into my soul
Is the gift of Your love
Outweighed by my own desires?
Draw my heart to You
Win me over with Your love
I want my love for You
To burn stronger than before
3. Do I love You?
When I say I give You everything
Do I withhold some things for me?
When You look into my heart
When You search the deepest parts
Do I love You, do I love You, do I love You?
It seems impossible to love You more than anything
But You’ve made the impossible, possible for me
Possible for me
© 2015 Adriel Hong Music