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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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john 21

The Authentication of the Book of John

John 21.25

John 21:24-25

Jesus’ earthly ministry lasted for approximately three years; during this time much of what He did and said was documented in the four Gospels. Jesus probably preached, healed and cast out demons most days of those three years; that would be 1095 days, minus some days of rest. I certainly have never taken the time to add up how many days of preaching and miracles Jesus did in the Biblical accounts, but I am certain it is nowhere near 1095! John addresses that here, telling us that a full accounting of all Jesus did would fill more volumes than the world could hold. Friends much took place during this time that is not accounted for.

Despite the untold number of great things that took place, no evidence has yet come forth to show any falsehood in the life of Jesus. These things happened; history verifies it and the Apostle John provides additional authentication here. It is no accident and further authenticates the things Jesus did, that His teachings began spreading like wildfire immediately after His death and Resurrection. As we have covered before, the Resurrection is the pivotal event that sealed the deal. It provided proof that God was satisfied with the payment Jesus made, and that Jesus actually had power and authority to speak what He did and to do the things He did.

The power of the Resurrection is available in the lives of believers today; the only question is whether we allow it to work through us.

 

What Is Love Anyway?

John 21.15

First of all, this devotional is not going to be a deep theological dissertation on all the various meanings in the passage above. Someday perhaps we will do that, but not today. I am only using it to illustrate what love means.

Both of the types of love mentioned in the Bible can be found in the above passage. The Bible commonly uses two different Greek words, with quite different meanings. The two words from the Greek which are translated love are, “agape” and “phileo.

The above passage goes something like this:

  • Peter, do you agape me? Yes Lord, you know I phileo you.
  • Peter, do you agape me? Yes, Lord, I phileo you.
  • Peter, do you phileo me? Peter, mildly put out, replies, Lord you know I phileo you.

As I said, here we are not going to analyze that passage; it just works well for what we are going to do briefly, which is explain just what love is.

  • Agape love is the kind of unconditional, sacrificial love which God the Father has for us. It is not based on feelings or based on if the recipient deserves it or not. It is the kind of love that is willing act and sacrifice even when another is totally undeserving. It is the kind of love both God the Father and Jesus Christ displayed when God sacrificed His Son for us, even though we did not deserve it. Agape love is the kind of love we are commanded to practice towards our fellow humans.
  • Phileo love is the kind of love we might have for a friend, or brother or anyone who we are fond of. This love is feeling based; in other words, this is based on whether we actually like a person or not. It might be sacrificial in some circumstances, but only insofar as it meets the needs of the person sacrificing.

Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves. The kind of love He commanded was not phileo love, but agape love. Because we are not commanded to love just those we actually feel something positive for; we are commanded to love our neighbor. Who is our neighbor? Stay tuned for a future post on that very subject!

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