Do you love Jesus? This question, on the surface, seems simple enough. But, if you look deeper, it is difficult to answer. We have the demonstration, or behavior, associated with the love of Jesus. We have been baptized, we belong to a church organization, we read the Bible on a regular basis, we pray, we may have a ministry such as being an usher, or a greeter, or part of the choir. But the question still is unanswered. Do you love Jesus?
John 21: 15 – 15, “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.’ 16 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.’ 17 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 this passage we see two types of love being talked about. In verses 15 and 16 Jesus is speaking of “agape,” which is the Greek word describing self-sacrificial love. In verse 17 Jesus is referring to the affection, affinity or brotherly love by using the word “phileo.” This is what we need to ask ourselves on a daily basis: Am I willing to show, through my actions, commitments and behavior, a self-sacrificial love and true brotherly love for Jesus?
When we say we love Jesus, is it superficial or is it the affectionate intimacy that comes with yearning to walk, talk and be with Him? Peter had to face these questions in light of his denials associated with Jesus when Peter was in the courtyard. It is one thing to affirm our love for Jesus by “doing” things that we are required to do and quite another to understand the true emotional commitment to the one who gave His all for our salvation.
So, the next time you are in prayer and faced by the question, “Do you love me?” don’t be quick with an answer that speaks of superficial obedience, but think in terms of the deeper commitment – in terms of giving yourself fully and intimate to Him. Talk with Jesus even as Peter talked with him. Search your heart and answer Jesus, if true, “Lord, you know all things; you know I love you.” If you have trouble being able to honestly speak these words then pray to Jesus to remove your unbelief and replace it with the love he deserves. Pray that you will have an unadulterated love of Jesus. Remember, you walk with the Holy Spirit 24 hours a day and He is your counselor and intercessor – He is God within you. And God, desires an intimate relationship with you.