After telling Peter, “Feed my lambs,” Jesus went on to telling him to tend and feed his sheep. Some people have surmised that the difference there was that by telling Peter to feed his lambs Jesus was telling him to educate innocent children, while in telling him to feed his sheep, Jesus was telling him to bring back older, straying Christians.
Jesus three times brought Peter to say he loved him; and we usually see that as Our Lord’s way of making Peter atone for those three times in the court of the High that Priest three times swore he did not know Jesus.
This might be a silly question, but just what could Peter have meant by saying he loved Jesus. Or, going beyond that question, what is meant by you or I saying we love someone?
What does a little girl mean when she says, “I love jellybeans?” Or what does she mean when she says, “I don’t like my brother, but I love him, because I have to?”
A popular song maintained that although teenagers say they are in love, they don’t know what they are talking about.” The song has a syntactically neat lyric describing that inadequacy. It says that for teenagers: “Love is a word, a word they have only heard, and can’t begin to know the meaning of.”
Getting back to the little girls who loves jellybeans, we say that is ridiculous. We see love as a tribute we only pay to objects possessing some nobility. Then, the little girl does not like surface things about her brother, but she does love his parentage and his immortal soul.
So, love is a reaching out to a person that is prompted by the person’s high qualities. Our loving God is a reaching out to him prompted by our seeing high qualities in his Bible, in his creation, and in response to the love he shows us.