|Volume 19 Number 1 January 2017||
After Jesus resurrected, He appeared several times to His disciples. On one occasion, He cooked them a meal. After the meal, He asked Peter if he loved Him. The word “love” that He used was “Agape.” This is the kind of love that we Christians should have for one another as described in 1 Corinthians 13.
Peter responded by saying that Jesus knew that he loved Him. The word Peter used for “love” was “Phileo.” This word means “brotherly love” like we love our good friends and brothers! Peter was saying that he loved Jesus like a brother. He was very fond and affectionate toward him. Jesus was asking for “Agape” love—a love which transcends affection and fondness! “Agape” is a love that loves regardless of “feelings” for an individual.
Jesus asked Peter a second time, “Do you Agape me?” Peter said, “You know that I Phileo you!” Jesus then asked him the third time, but this time He used the word “Phileo.” Peter became “grieved” and said I “Phileo” you! Jesus knew that Peter was His friend and acknowledged that fact, but he wanted Peter to see that his love must be deeper!
After each question Jesus asked Peter to feed his lambs and sheep. Jesus wanted Peter to watch over the believers and teach them to love. However, in order to lead, one must remain faithful himself! Jesus informed Peter that he would be persecuted for his love for Christ. There would be times that Peter would not “feel” love. If he were to remain faithful, he would have to develop Agape love!
[Editor’s Note: Of course, then, we likewise need to develop the highest form of love for each other and for our fellow man—saint and sinner. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
Donald R. Fox
Your computer ever mess up? Maybe your desktop screen does not appear the same as it did yesterday. There is a great tool called “System Restore” that can get things working the way they did the other day. According to Microsoft, “System Restore helps you restore your computer’s system files to an earlier point in time. It’s a way to undo system changes to your computer without affecting your personal files, such as e-mail, documents…” This rolling back to a previous point restores the system that has a malfunction or a failure. I have used this tool on several occasions.
Sometimes people need a restoring point in their lives. It is heartbreaking to see one in despair because of poor judgment, life changing mistakes and sin. Alcoholism, drug abuse, breaking the law, marital problems and the list could go on and on. Many of life’s problems cannot be changed or restored to a previous point. We reap the consequence of sin; this is a known fact of life. However, it is possible to drive a stake down, so to speak, and to start afresh. We can create a restoring point in our lives. We recognize that some problems will have penalties that will last a lifetime. A convicted murderer may spend the rest of his or her life in prison. Even this person can create a restoration point. Changing one’s status before God Almighty is the restoring point.
The alien sinner is one who has never obeyed the Gospel of our Savior. Such a sinner does not have a restoring point. Restore means to return to a former state. Synonyms for restore would be “cure,” “healing,” “remaking” and “rehabilitation.” I am applying a poetic license concerning the term restoring point in this lesson. A definition of a poetic license is “freedom to deviate deliberately from normally applicable rules or practices.” It would be true that a child of God, a Christian, who sins in such a way as to fall from grace, can repent, and in doing so would be restored (Galatians 1:6-9; 5:4; 1 Timothy 4:1-2; Hebrews 3:12-19).
The Crucifixion of Our Lord Jesus Christ
They therefore cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him! Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. Then therefore he delivered him unto them to be crucified. They took Jesus therefore: and he went out, bearing the cross for himself, unto the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha: where they crucified him, and with him two others, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title also, and put it on the cross. And there was written, JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title therefore read many of the Jews, for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city; and it was written in Hebrew, and in Latin, and in Greek. (John 19:15-20 ASV)
The Restoring Point for These Jews
Can one think of a greater life-changing event than participating in the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him. And with many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, Save yourselves from this crooked generation. They then that received his word were baptized: and there were added unto them in that day about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:36-41)
I am thankful that the Word of God can provide the vilest sinner, the reprobate, the depraved, the murderer and even one who has denied God Almighty a way to repent of sin. The restoring point is obedience to all the commands of our God. “This is the end of the matter; all hath been heard: fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).