We have come to a hard place in the life cycle of mankind. We see people selling us their convoluted idea of love in the movies, on the TV, on the radio and in every form of print imaginable. Even in my Computer Catalogs, the parts are being sold by the persuasion of sex. Today we must drive a sixty-five thousand dollar, or better, car, wear two hundred dollar Italian Shoes, wear five hundred dollar suits, and have a two hundred dollar Stingy Brim Fedora to be lovable. And if you watch the televangelist you find the same image prevails. The world has gone insane!
1Jn 4:15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
1Jn 4:16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (NASB)
According to the lie our children are being sold today, if you love someone that is expressed by jumping into bed with them, after all, just like dogs, cats, cattle and hogs, we're just animals! I freely admit that there are various forms of love, even the Bible teaches there are different types, just look at Jesus after His resurrection. Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. I've heard many sermons on this passage of scripture but the best ones, in my opinion dealt with the question and the answer in the Greek. In the Greek there are various words for the various forms of love and in English we lump them all into just love. There are two forms of love used in the text, one by Jesus and the other by Peter. Jesus wanted to know if Peter agaped Him and Peter said he philosed Him. (My addition of the ed and the d are without doubt incorrect. The words are agape and philos and I've heard some call the second phileo.)
Philos is the love of a friend or for a friend but agape is the love that Jesus had for you and I. (In passing for the inquisitive there is a third form, eros and I'll almost bet money that I do not need to explain it to anyone.) Agape love is what I found I had for people in Vietnam. I, very firmly, believed that the gentle people, farmers and Mountain Tribes, deserved the same freedom the I grew up with. And the job I did was 100% voluntary. I used my Congressman to force the Army to send me to Vietnam and then I volunteered for two more tours of duty there.
Sometimes I'll be at the VA and I meet someone from Custer's outfit and when they find out that I am one of the original Killer Spades they salute and shout out “Gary Owen.” I then return the honor and people ask me, “You were in their outfit in Nam?” and I tell them no. I was never a member of the bravest Calvary Battalion in the world, I was just one of the dummys that was to stupid to refuse to fly into their fire-fights and bring them the supplies they needed and then we flew to the hospital to deposit the wounded because Med-Evac wouldn't or couldn't get there. Those three tours of combat are the hardest thing I did in my life, someone was trying to kill me every day. But you see I did not even understand the term agape but that was exactly what I felt for both my men and those men on the ground, fighting the good fight.
Every time we flew into the jungles of Vietnam and landed we became the enemies favored target. If we landed in the middle of a firefight they knew we were robbing them of any chance of success and if we landed without a firefight we were marking known the location of the Infantry. Most of these flights were Logistical Resupply and required the Huey to drop in three times. On the third and sometimes the second flight there was an excellent chance that we would be mortared along with the men we were trying to get a hot meal, new men and ammo to. We did this duty because somebody had to be willing to die for the men that were willing to die for us. That is love for your fellow man or in Koine Greek it is expressed as agape, pronounced ah-gop-ae.
Today, I live in SE Texas and I get around in a wheelchair but this agape, love, is what I have for my wife and she for me. You see, just because the world is going to Hell in a hand-basket does not mean that anyone should exercise their ability to spit filth out of their mouths in my wife's presence and far to many do this no matter who or what is around. I am still of the opinion that it is my place to shut them up and my wife is of the opinion that I need to shut up before they kill me, what cha gonna do... Boss! We're all due in Heaven and only He knows when, right!
So, while the world is busy trying to disown and displace God we must be ready to love them just as Jesus loved us... and them. That was the answer that Jesus was looking for from Peter that day. A valid rendering of that question in today's English could be stated, “Do you love me enough to die for me?”