This new take on John 21 is about phileo being more than agape, at least as Peter was using the word. The context is what makes this so plain. Two weeks after being reconciled with Jesus (as Cleopas reported), having breathed in the Holy Spirit and learning to practice the Lord’s presence during His periods of physical absence, Peter was simply itching for some more active type of occupation, besides being just spiritual. So when Jesus sounded like he wanted a favor, Peter sounded eager to please, but then he clammed up at the favor that was requested. Finally, Jesus challenged Peter’s confident claim to be such a friend, so capable of loving and doing whatever God wanted, even if he didn't want to go there.
Most often in ancient greek, among the greeks themselves, “phileo” was greater than “agape”. But regardless of which words we use, when the conversation turns to serving Jesus Christ, there is no task that trumps simple obedience – to love Him, to do whatever great or menial task he requests, even merely to serve food, or to die on a cross.
After their Passover supper, Jesus had said, "Greater agape has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his Philos." Peter heard the words and made the proper connection, but the sword wielding fisherman still needed help figuring out just what Jesus actually wanted from his friends, when they offered to serve him.
(This series is now Concluded. :-)
Just read all 11 posts after doing a google search on John 21 in prep for a talk/study on the chapter. Interesting & meaningful take, and one that makes a lot more sense than any I've heard. And I've heard a lot.
The direction of the study will likely place more emphasis on the "You must follow Me" phrase than anything, but your take here is so very helpful. Thank you!
My pleasure, deb. Thanks be to God.
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