From: Natali (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Feb 13 2001 - 10:56:37 EST
I. There are various approaches in considering this passage:
1) The interchange of AGAPAW and FILEW in (Jn.21:15-17) seems to be
accidental. Is it so?
IMO, there are no accidental things in the LXX - GNT.
IMO, the critical GNT text (with all its variants in few particulars) is
more perfect than one's common slang AS MUCH AS Christ and GNT writers
having been *exclusively* inspired by His Spirit for that work are more
perfect, more wise than each of us.
2) The usage of AGAPAW and FILEW in (Jn.21:15-17) seems to reflect simply a
rhetorical alternation designed to avoid undue repetition.
IF it is so, there would be no, IMO, such passages as (Lk.6:32), (Jn.13:34),
(1Jn.2:15; 4:7-8; 4:11-12; 4:19-21; 5:1-2).
3) Then some background is to be here (for example, why Peter *apparently*
insists on FILEW while Jesus *apparently* insists on AGAPAW?), and Christ
with a Gospel writer see significance to distinct meanings AGAPAW and FILEW
If we agree, in a varying degree, with determinations given in Parts 1-5 of
this message, usage of all synonyms for/and deep sense of (Jn.21) will open
from all sides quite naturally and cogently. Anywhere, I'd be glad to see
another issue with more thorough and natural approach.
I think, indeed, this wonderful passage (Jn.21:15-17) is also a Christ's
parable told (or rather presented) in characters, personages:
II. Has *three-time* Christ's inquiry any significance? Yes, of course.
Three-time inquiry-question put to Peter by Jesus and Peter's three-time
answer followed by Jesus' three-time designation of Peter's shepherd status
is to be understood as a rehabilitation of Peter and restoration him to
leadership role in the community of believers after his three-fold denial of
Jesus on the night of the arrest.
TO TRITON doesn't underscore, IMO, anything other than the fact that NUMBER
3 has been reached, the climatic number of Peter's denials of Jesus.
Importance of score is emphasized by specifying DEUTERON after its synonym
PALIN in (Jn.21:16).
*With that* the NUMBER 3 as reminder of Peter's thrice denial couldn't all
at once seriously affect Peter and suddenly grieve him, because, I think, he
ALWAYS bore his three-fold denial in mind.
Peter's FILIA to Christ was (and is) apparently the most warm, even hot with
whole heart; so his confusion, dismay and faint-hearted manifest denial of
Christ on the night of the arrest was, IMO, infinitely disgraceful for him
(if to consider his, PETROS-rock, bulky character). And if such pain may
become somewhat hebetate after several days, it burst into flame again at
the first sight of Christ on the beach.
(Yes, IMO, Peter has not hidden in consciousness his burden of denial. And
Peter's friends were not conducive to it because they DID saw him the
apparent traitor who publicly disavowed association with Christ. That is,
IMO, why a Gospel writer put SU before OIDAS and GINWSKEIS while these words
not require it grammatically. As if Peter says, whatever *they* think,
Christ should know Peter's real love to Him.)
...Well, and what then could yet more (completely) grieve Peter just after
third Christ's inquiry? Was it shift from AGAPAW to FILEW? Let's investigate
III. There are, in all, 3 variants of Peter's attitude towards meanings
AGAPAW and FILEW:
1) Peter doesn't see any distinction between these meanings.
Well, then let's consider his answers.
Peter ardently was out to demonstrate his hearty devotion to Christ by:
flinging himself into the sea to get the Lord; trying to prove himself for
the Lord by single-handed pulling the heavy net on beach when He asked about
Even without such endeavor to find favor in Jesus' eyes (Peter want so much
to affirm the subject being inquired!), when someone asks a question, the
responder doesn't answer with a synonym.
Let Peter didn't attach significance to his slip in speaking with Christ for
the first time. But the second Christ's inquiring into (almost) the same
*should* make ardent Peter more attentive, and then, just to be on the safe
side, if only formally, he'd answer by proper (Jesus') key words. But with
Jesus' apparent insisting on using AGAPAW Peter apparently insists on using
Psychologically, as for normal person, already the second question about the
same should upset Peter and cause him to become more thoughtful, especially
as there were no PLEON TOUTWN in it.
Even if to assume Peter's muddle with meanings AGAPAW and FILEW, he was not
so blind that (in such crucial point) to continue answer inadequately, as if
(again!) contradicting the Lord. To find explanation of such conduct is
embarrassingly unless consider Peter stupid. But then it would be
incomprehensible Christ's choice of shepherd.
2) The second variant of Peter's attitude towards meanings AGAPAW and
FILEW is that Peter generally understands them but puts his FILEW lower
AGAPAW (the meaning about that Jesus told so much) and so he humbly
contradicts Christ and explains more precisely his attitude towards Him: But
then it can not be understood why Peter so persistently inserts NAI.
3) The third variant of Peter's attitude towards meanings AGAPAW and FILEW
is that he puts his (really) strong FILEW far and away from his (really)
poor AGAPAW. That is Peter believes his great FILEW can compensate his
certain AGAPAW deficiency over and above.
(It's analogous to when someone ask you a cigarette and therefore you
*generously* give him a splendid cigarette-lighter.)
Well, it should be observed, Peter had strong reasons to highlight FILEW:
(Jn.15:13-15 and 17:27). Or let's recall Lazarus: verily miraculous grace
was extend by Christ namely to His FILOS.
(And indeed, simultaneous transforming of AGAPAW into FILEW is the highest
success in relations being settled, isn't it?)
...Such variant of Peter's attitude towards meanings AGAPAW and FILEW gives
us a key to understand the very important (for any loving organizer
especially) GNT passage:
(Jn.21:15) --- Christ, beholding hot Peter's penitential zeal, not that
questioned but reminded him about exclusive (PLEON TOUTWN) sagacity and
foresight of careful AGAPAW needful for a good shepherd. But Peter acquitted
so as if *his* hottest FILEW, with its bubbling energy and recent bitter
experience, become panacea, that is unconditionally higher (his) AGAPAW, and
henceforth such love indeed can successfully compensate AGAPAW deficiency in
any unforeseen circumstances.
Then Christ inimitably taught him (and us).
*Awhile* Christ agreed with Peter's attitude. Why? -
Strong introducing any love initiative, organizationally not easy one, first
of all expects hot appeals to people by heart, and so in the highest degree
people feed by (as if child) hopefulness being inspired by shepherd's words
and ardent zeal.
Forasmuch as good young (ARNION) community in relatively stagnant cold world
is up against it, there are many problems, trials and mistakes, even losses
in such community development, so BOSKW is inherent in such shepherd's work
to a great extent.
And on the contrary, if requirements suggested for a new way of living are
highly appreciated, and a land for it is abundant, it's needful only to look
after a growing flock and (sometimes) suggest better variants, solving
mainly another problems, not how to feed.
(Jn.21:16) --- *After some time* it's possible (for that shepherd's work was
not far-sighted enough) to make up his mind to let not exclusive (not PLEON
TOUTWN) but adequate AGAPAW with its foresight.
Such moments always come because the life itself puts more and more problems
(in feeding and others) on any land, and many of them are not solved by zeal
of the heart only but by assistance of mind, mother wit, far-sighted
solution, sagacious (seminal) denial of worse development variants:
With that the ARNION flock, *since the same time*, has been grown too; it
has been got stronger as the PROBATON sheep (and has been become more
adapted). So the sheep has, more or less, safety margin to endure that
And the shepherd is, in impending circumstances, forced to tend (that is
POIMAINW) the sheep with all his (FILEW) might, and with fragments of AGAPAW
Christ still accepts such shepherding (in context of the proper words).
(Jn.21:17) --- But, some time or other, a crucial moment is sure to come
when the sheep (without shepherd's adequate AGAPAW care) depletes its safety
margin to endure impending trials. And then it is possible to make up one's
mind to whether such shepherd loves (FILEW) the sheep indeed when he so
stubbornly neglects by apparent necessity to learn AGAPAW subtleties.
Whether such shepherd, with all his FILOS impulses and really heroic deeds,
is fit for service in (often far not favorable) *current* circumstances?
You see, further such serving is followed by sapping, rundown and, sooner or
later, downfall of the sheep, or by substitution of the shepherd:
Peter's self-assurance with "rock" lack of receptivity to learning was
definitively overwhelmed by (omniscient Christ's!!!) impugning the MOST SURE
in his life. And, IMO, Peter's (happy) guess, let in outline, about the
performed scenario saved him and was followed by Jesus' blessing to Peter's
(It should seem, all shaped very well for Peter in that dialogue:
After Christ's second inquire, phrased may be otherwise in Aramaic but in
general sense being translated by the same single AGAPAW, Peter probably yet
more held his hands out towards Christ, and yet more strained hands to hot
heart in order to convey more vividly, convincingly very great FILIA and
gratitude for reinstatement of shepherd's rights. And Christ's second answer
ought to convince Peter definitively of his justifiability because for the
second time the Lord charged him with something more -- *to tend, guide (not
only look after)* *the human flock as a whole (not only lambs in it)*. So
the following (again! the third!) Jesus' inquiring, probably canceling
everything, ought to sound for Peter as a bolt from the blue.)
And just because Peter has perceived the lesson, contritely correcting
himself and turning from self-confident (set, stagnant) SU OIDAS to current
(open-minded) SU GINWSKEIS, Christ reserves for him the right to be a God's
envoy, a shepherd.
If such arising insight (it concerns importance of AGAPAW subtleties) does
not appear related with Peter, his denial Christ would be *again* TO TRITON,
and now, IMO, definitively.
I think, Peter's life was tested not only in the court of the high priest
but also (and mainly) here, on the beach of the Sea.
Apparently Christ has made sure that the apostle henceforth and right to the
end of his life will retrace this dialogue, again and again, more and more
And the Lord remarkably designated him:
IMO, Christ simultaneously stated shepherd's designation-minimum and
designation-maximum by the same words, "BOSKE TA PROBATA MOU".
The Lord could charge Peter by "POIMAINE:" as once He charged David
(Ezek.34:23). But Christ provides now even more great future of pasturing:
First, of cause, His shepherd should take care of the sheep according to his
utmost lights, let not always enough ones (Christ promised to help in
crucial moments!): And sometime a shepherd, for his growing AGAPH, shall be
able to do his work like the Lord (Ezek.34:13-16), that is so wisely and
1) the succeeding sheep will not notice the shepherd's influence on reach
land (thanks God!),
2) and (yet in sometimes occurring trials) shepherd's ministering shall be
so grace, competent and well-timed for the strayed that it succours and
relieves us at accident serious errors-illness without tending thrusts and
pushes. Such obvious shepherding, appreciated with great faith and gratitude
as the most natural and needful (when it goes as if without saying for such
wise (thanks God!) and graceful shepherd), is also "BOSKW".
...You know, Peter did good by that lesson, and his letters are rife with
GNWSIS and AGAPAW with cognates (1Pet.1:8,22; 2:2,11,17; 3:10; 4:8,12;
5:14); (2 Pet.1:2,3,7,8; 2:15,20,21; 3:1,8,14,15,17,18).
Maybe something was sounded too strong (here and in parts 1-5 of this
message). But I think the suggested, in general, seems to be rather
well-thought-out, natural and plausible, isn't it?
Thank you for your open discussions.
I love you.
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