John 21:15-17 (NLT)
15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, �Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?�
�Yes, Lord,� Peter replied, �you know I love you.� �Then feed my lambs,� Jesus told him. 16 Jesus repeated the question: �Simon son of John, do you love me?� �Yes, Lord,� Peter said, �you know I love you.� �Then take care of my sheep,� Jesus said. 17 A third time he asked him, �Simon son of John, do you love me?� Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, �Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.� Jesus said, �Then feed my sheep.
Jesus waits until after breakfast to ask Peter an important set of questions. Most likely Jesus wanted Peter to enjoy his breakfast before asking him something very difficult. In the verses above Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him. In each response Peter says, �Yes, you know I love you.� You don�t see in the English what is hidden in the Greek language; the first two times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him -- Jesus was asking if the love for Him was of a godly nature; loving him deeply, fondly and dearly. The response Peter gave was yes I love you, �but as a friend�. The third time Jesus asked Peter, He said �Do you love me as a friend?� to which Peter responded again, �You know I love you as a friend.�
In Matthew 22:34-37 it is written, �But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: �Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?� Jesus replied, �You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.�
Peter was there when Jesus was confronted by the Pharisees. Peter knew He was to love God with all his heart and soul. What Peter was missing was that his love for God was to be above any love for anyone else. His love for Christ and God was to be a godly love, agapaō , instead of a phileō love or brotherly love.
In our lives we need to ensure we place our love for God first and then we are able to care for others in the proper way. A good example in the Bible is Samson. Delilah told Samson if �he loved her he would tell her the secret of his strength.� Instead of listening first to God, Samson gave up his secret, lost his strength and was tortured by the Philistines. Had Samson put God first and listened to God he would have kept his secret and kept his strength. Instead he let Delilah maliciously bait him by tempting him with his love for her over his love for God.
So I encourage you to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. Value what God has to say over what people have to save. Value God�s judgment over man�s judgment. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.