Sorting out the slight distinctions of John 21 Synonyms
virgilsalvage1 at email.msn.com
Tue Jan 9 01:37:25 EST 2001
First let me disagree with my subject header. There is indeed a great and significant difference between these seeming synonyms.
The further we go into the New Testament, the more this distinction is brought to be. Look for example at 1 John 4:8 where John makes the awesome declaration that actually described AGAPE when he says, " The very God is existing as the very ( dative case, singular ) personification of AGAPE." Yes, God is AGAPE, hence whatever AGAPE is....it can be seen by looking at who and what God is. PHILEO indeed may be and is friendship, love, connection, commitment, warmth, fondness, and quite possibly many other things that one might find in relationship with others. Yet John never says...God is PHILEO. Jesus never charged us with a new charge that we were to have PHILEO for one another. However He did issue a new charge that we are to AGAPE one another. Just one more example to add to the discussion that I think has clearly shown with many examples that there must be a distinction. So, what is it? What does AGAPE mean? IF we define this,it must fit with what happened there in John 21:15.
AGAPE is....a directing of the will of such an extent that it is a directing and projecting of the very being of a person. It is, as some have mentioned something of the will, of choice, ultimately expressing the very nature and constitution of someone that contains their intents and purposes. According to Stauffer in Kittel's vol. 1, page 36...in the word AGAPE the Greek finds nothing of the power or magic of EROS, and little of the warmth of PHILEO. It means to be satisfied with something, often it means " to receive " or " to greet ". He goes on to say on page 37...AGAPE is a love which makes distinctions, choosing and keeping to it's object.
Richard Trent in his Synonyms of the New Testament points out that as far back as the Vulgate...AGAPE is translated by the Latin..`" diligo " ( esteem ) and for PHILEO..." amo " ( love ). " Diligere " = " deligere " to choose " expresses an intellectual attachment of choice and selection.
Spiros Zodhiates in his Complete Word Study of the New Testament Lexical Aids says of AGAPE....It is God's willful direction towards man. Concerning AGAPAO he says...it indicates a directing of the will.
But, as has been pointed out...what about the Pharisee's AGAPE concerning seats and greetings? What about Demas's AGAPE as concerns the world? Ah...can you see in just these two examples the definition of AGAPE as being the very directing of ones will? The very projecting of who and what one is...or perhaps has become. It seems obvious to me that there are definitely two kinds of AGAPE. What's the difference? One has become damaged and polluted and one is God Himself as shown in John 3:16...For God in such a manner EGAPESEN ( directed His will and projected His being ) the world, that it resulted in Him giving His One and Only Son, that whoever believes into Him may not end up destroyed, but be having eternal Life by taking hold of eternal Life.
There is an AGAPE that has been corrupted and polluted by another god...one that Paul calls the god of this world. Without the Life that is One who is Life, any AGAPE we end up exercising fails us, misleads us, takes us over and ends up destroying us. Look at Shechem in Gen 34 who AGAPAO Dinah.....resulting in a plot to takes what belongs to Jacob. Look in 2 Sam 13 where Amnon very being is taken over by his AGAPE for Tamar and once his being controlled by that polluted AGAPE takes Tamar and invades and spoils her...he throws her away. This is not the real AGAPE...it is a false, damaged, polluted something that masquerades as AGAPE until it destroys you. Shechem and Amnon both were killed.
Peter thought that he had AGAPE and had it more than anyone. He didn't realize that even the strength of what he felt was poisoned, damaged, infected by the god of this world. So by the time that he had failed the Lord multiple times and in the most reprehensible ways, even though he had seen the Lord in Resurrection he still wasn't used to or perhaps even aware of what had happened that evening in John 20:21, 22 when Jesus said, " As the Father has sent me, in the same way I am sending you and when He had said this He breathed on them and said...Receive you the Holy Spirit. Peter and all the disciples received the very God who is being the very personification of AGAPE and everything else that God ever was and is and will be. However they weren't used to that and as yet did not know how to live by that. A good illustration of this was that Thomas wouldn't believe until he sees the proof. That didn't mean that Jesus wasn't really alive, it just affected what Thomas experienced. The same with Peter and Nathaniel and Thomas and the sons of Zebedee and two other disciples that somehow even though they had seen Jesus in Resurrection, ended up about 120 miles away over some period of time and were apparently back in the fishing business.
Now we are at the setting of John 21:15-17, and this is where the first premise that we made has to fit in. Is there a distinction between AGAPAW and FILEW. There is Peter, leading his fellow brothers back into the fishing business and there's plenty of proof that it is not what they are supposed to be doing. No fish. I don't know if Peter's naked because he is working so hard he can't stand having his clothes on or what. Maybe he's getting a little crazy over his frustration of not having any success, he's torn his clothes off and is cussing and swearing like he did the night he denied the Lord three times. Whatever it was it was bad because when the Lord from His position on the shore chided them with, " Children! You don't have any! ( present indicative active...hard to tell sometimes whether it is a declaration or a question. ) and they being affected by that responded in the affirmative...no. Then we He added His effect to their situation and directed them to the fish, the one disciple that had in a specific and special way been the object of the directing of the will of the Lord (AGAPE) and hence had some insight the others didn't have apparently...said, to Peter ( who had led them into this ) IT IS THE LORD! That was enough for Peter. Talk about being exposed and centerstaged! He did what I did as a small boy when I had not come in before dark, I was so scared to come in and get in trouble that I stayed outside curled up by the stairs while it was getting later and later and all the while I was getting more and mored scared to come in. Until finally, I just had to come in and face the music, because after all I did want to be inside! This is what happened next. Peter clothes himself and jumps in the water to hide or something. Maybe he kind of felt like dying, or at least hiding, because everyone else headed for shore as quickly as they could. They were not in the kind of defeat Peter was in. They came to land and went to Jesus, apparently ignoring his imperative to bring some of the fish. They could probably by that time have cared less about the fish...they were becoming persuaded that this was really the Lord. Meanwhile, Peter had decided not to die or at least that he couldn't stay forever out in the Sea of Tiberius, because as he finally came up out of the water...he went for the fish! No one else did, apparently.
Now, imagine after having eaten, after realizing that the Lord really is for real in His Resurrection, after realizing how can it be so easy for me to leave the Lord again and how can it be so easy that already I am just back having my own life again and not only that, I lead " these " (this will be important in a minute) brothers away with me too, Peter has to be in a serious quandry about what is all this?
And then the Lord throws him a real curve by saying Simon (his old name) Peter (his new name) genitive case JONA indicating Simon Peter you have been living lately as characterized by what you have from your earthly father...although you still have what you received from your heavenly Father (Peter and his realization of who and what the Lord really is) then the real curve ball...Present Indicative Active YOU ARE AGAPAO Me and it is an AGAPE that is the more love that you see and think is in " THESE " others here that you know didn't fail me like you did! Peter! TOUTON is in the genitive case which means it is doing the qualifying here and it is more than what Peter thinks he has. Peter knows his own heart and he won't deny what is there. It's not that other ( That directing of one's very being...that state of being that cannot fail until it carries through) he knows that's not what he has....but he does know that he is related to the Lord....that he cares for the Lord....that in his own way he is as committed as he can be to the Lord....but no....not that other thing...not AGAPE. However the Lord is the One full of Grace and Truth and He knows for sure something that Peter doesn't know or realize yet....and that is that the coming to him and the others that Jesus had spoke of in John 14 that His going away was going to accomplish had been accomplished and breathe into them on the evening of John 20:21,22. Jesus knew that in Peter...in his spirit, the very One who is being AGAPE was now at home in his spirit. So, with confidence Jesus went on and said...Feed my sheep! Jesus is the reality! He goes on to speak more from that place. He said to Simon, you didn't get it...you are still the genitive of Jona....Listen! YOU ARE AGAPAO me! Present...( right now ) Indicative..( it is for sure ) Active ( you are doing the action of the verb but not in the Jona born parts of you...but in the, from above born part of you). Yea Lord, well no, not really but kind of ...you know I care for you, I want to be with you, I FILEW you. But I'm nowhere near that directing of my will, being able to project for sure and always my being to you. UH uh no way........Once again the Lord only being able to come from a place of reality says....even stronger Sheperd my sheep! Then the Lord being also...full of Grace begins to let up on Peter after He reminds him again that he is still coming from his genes ( genitive Jona ) knowing that Peter is safe in His Grace and that God's purposes and Life will prevail in Peter, comes to the place that Peter is still at and acknowledges, Peter you are ( present indicative active ) FILEW me....I know your heart and position.
Now, Peter feels a part of himself that he isn't used to getting in touch with so far...but having been in the Lord's presence and in the reality of His speaking he begins to get in tune somewhat with his spirit, because when the Lord says you are FILEW me, his spirit which contains the Lord, the Father and the Spirit is pained, passively receiving a suffering because a description is having to be made that is not reality but something that needs to be done for Peter for the sake of his going on at the present. And he acknowledges...Lord you absolutely know everything for what it really is and you know for sure that I at the very least FILEW you. Jesus again speaks from a place of confindence and reality...although He lightens up on Peter even in this....Feed ( not sheperd ) my sheep.
As a final ( for the time being ) encouragement to try to get Peter to his spirit and the concept that he is really with and mingled with God and His purpose, He even tells him that not only will you serve me all your life, but even right into and by your death. Don't worry...things are going to be different.
There is AGAPE that is corrupted and weak and doomed to failure. There is all kinds of PHILEO. But there really is only One AGAPE that is God Himself and that is what Jesus what trying to get through to Peter. God has extended Himself to us and included us and supplied Himself to us so that we can be filled full in the image that we were created in. Filled with His Life. Knowing God...knowing AGAPE...
Later in 2 Peter 1:1 He passes on the same information concerning the reality that is in us when he writes....." that what we have all received is exactly in portion and value what he received...
1 John 4:16 And we have come to the place of absolutely knowing and believing the directing of the will, His very being that God is having in us. God is the very personification of the directing of the will, of the very being, and the one who is remaining in the directing of the will, the very being is remaining in God and God is remaining in him.
If you all would see how this explains something we have all wondered about for so long and longed for...wherever you find AGAPE in any of it's forms, try substituting the concept or phrase if you will of...." The directing of the will "
Having the hope that this has CHRESTOS....
Salt Lake City, Utah
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