Dr. Couch, in John 21:15-17 Jesus asked Peter three times, if he loves Him. In English we only have one word for "love" but if you look at the original Greek text of the Bible the word used for "love" is "agapa" the first two times but "phileo" the third time. Why do you think Jesus used agape the first two times but only phileo the third time?
ANSWER: We do have an English word for phileo, it is the word "to like." Or, "to befriend." Agapa should be rightly translated "to love" in the deepest sense. The reason is obvious. Peter had not cultivated that deep care and love for Christ at that point. That would come in time. Peter had not reached a point of truly loving Christ. His appreciation would grow over the months and years. This happens with all human beings and it certainly would happen with Peter when he realized truly who Christ was.
I believe today we who believe in Jesus as our Savior do the same thing. We become more understanding of His great sacrifice for us and we begin to truly love Him as we should. Time is a good instrument in maturing our love for Christ.
Thanks for asking.
--Dr. Mal Couch (4/12)