Sermon summaries and audio files
Eckardtesian Thought: I think, therefore I write . . .
Simon Peter must have been wondering when his risen Lord was going to direct his attention to the egregious three denials to which Simon had fallen. He had appeared to them all, announcing peace, and he had shown them his hands and his side; but the terrible denials were still hanging over poor Simon's head. And then, after they had eaten, Jesus looks at him and asks him if he loves him more than these. The comparative is a bit unclear. Does it mean more than you love these, or, I suspect, more than these others love me? For it was Simon who had boasted, saying, Even if everyone should deny Thee, not I. How bitter, then, could this exchange had been, were it not for the fact that Jesus did not directly condemn Simon, or asked him if he respected Him, or was fearful of Him; rather, do you love Me? and more than these? So Simon affirmed that he did love Him, but did not add the comparison, for he had been humbled by his error. He had wept bitterly over it. And his affirmation indicated Jesus' own awareness: you know that I love you. But the second and the third time grieved Simon, for it was doubtless are grim reminder of his denials. Yet the third time he appealed to Jesus' omniscience: You know all things! But at none of these replies did he affirm agape love, or love of the highest kind, the love of God. He would not dare boast any longer. So he simply affirmed phileo: I love you dearly, brotherly. And at the third question, Jesus investigated that, as if to say, unlike the first two questions, Do you indeed love me dearly? phileis? And Simon's affirmation was also born of deep humility. So also must we learn this humility. We do not belong here, before God; we are not worthy to be here; but we are here by the loving invitation of grace. And yes, Jesus knows that we love Him, but we ought not dare lay claim to merit, or even to boast of our love for Him. Sermon for Easter II midweek. The video is here.