“Simon, do you love me?”
For us, the word “love” can mean many things: I can love the Cardinals, I can love a hamburger after Lent, I can love my mom—all the same word, but very different levels of intensity. Underneath the English translation of the text here, there is the Greek. And for the Greeks, this word, “love,” has many forms.
So, for example, Jesus asks Peter: “Do you love me?” The Greek word for love here is “agape.” (pronounced ah-GAH-peh or AH-gah-peh). Agape is the highest kind of love; it’s a divine love; a love that is a total gift of self—a love even unto death. Agape. So, Peter: do you agape me—do you love me even unto death?
Peter responds by saying, “Lord, you know that I love you.”
But Peter doesn’t use the word agape. He uses another Greek word:“phileo”—from which we get Philadelphia—the City of Brotherly Love. So, what Peter is saying is,“Lord, I don’t love you unto death, but I do love you with a brotherly love.” ………