Jesus Loves Me....

title of an old Sunday School song.

I posted the following near the end of the “What If God Were(Was?) One of Us” thread, and got no takers. Here it is again:

I’ll be fascinated to see what responses I get from this one.

No you won’t.


Men will cease to commit atrocities only when they cease to believe absurdities.
-Voltaire

I’ll never forget talking with a group of Campus Crusaders For Christ when I was in college, and somebody started to sing “Jesus Loves Me”. I joined in, but at the end I said, “Yes, Jesus loves me, Pope John Paul tells me so.” My, didn’t I get some strange looks!

In answer to your question, the only one I can think of off the top of my head is “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, whom most scholars take to be John.

You know, I ran a “Jesus” and “love” search on the KJV and RSV and didn’t get anything like “Jesus loved so-and-so”. Hmm. Lots of stuff about loving Jesus, though.

This quote (completely out of context) cracked me up:

[John 21:17.14] He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

Doesn’t it sound like a married couple?
“Honey, do you love me?”
“Of course I do, honeybunch.”
“Great. Now take out the garbage.”


“Eppur, si muove!” - Galileo Galilei

Mary Magdeline?

:::ducking:::


“I think it would be a great idea” Mohandas Ghandi’s answer when asked what he thought of Western civilization

Gaudere: probably one of the reasons this sounds so funny is that it loses quite a bit in the English translation. In the Greek, we’re dealing with two different forms of the verb “love”: agape, which means to literally love, and to love totally and unconditionally, and phileo, which means to be fond of, to be affectionate with, or friendly towards. The actual translation might go something like this:

Jesus: Simon, do you love me totally and unconditionally?
Peter: I am very fond of you, Lord.
Jesus: But do you love me totally and unconditionally?
Peter: I am very fond of you, Lord.
Jesus: All right, Simon; are you fond of me, then?
Peter (grieved): You know everything, Lord; you know that I am fond of you.

Basically what’s happening here is, Jesus is asking Peter for his total devotion, and Peter, unsure of himself (perhaps ashamed after denying Jesus three times) is not trusting himself to make that kind of commitment, so he’s playing it conservative. Jesus finally says, in effect, “All right, if that’s the best you can do, are you only fond of me, then?” And Peter, grieved and ashamed at his own weakness, is admitting, “Yes, that’s the best I can do…and you already know this about me; I’m so sorry that I am so weak.”

The important thing is that Jesus re-instates Peter as a disciple at the end of this exchange; Jesus forgives Peter, takes him back, and wipes out Peter’s previous three-fold denial by this three-fold affirmation. Personally, I think this is one of the most beautiful and tender scenes in the whole Bible. But I can see why you might find it funny, too, in the context in which you viewed it.

Great job with the “extra-Jesus” of a difficult passage, PM. :slight_smile:

One reason I posted this is that I’ve had some questions about what exactly Jesus means by “love” in its varying meanings, and while I can work my way through the Greek terms, it doesn’t help a whole lot.

Jesus is said to love only thirteen people in the Gospels. One is Lazarus. The other two statements are the farewell discourse in John, where he speaks of loving “you” to the Twelve Disciples, and the repetitive use of “disciple whom Jesus loved” (also in John) with apparent reference to John himself.

Now what the heck distinction is John making in identifying himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”? Did he just kinda-like like the others? Isn’t this a bit of braggadocio? (Picturing Dick and Tom Smothers as John and Peter respectively: “Jesus always loved you best!”)

My own hunch here is rather complex, and subject to misinterpretation, so let me spell it out.

Every human (except a few psychopaths) is in need of intimate emotional companionship. This may or may not be found in one’s sex partner. It may or may not be found in a close friend. It may or may not be found in an attachment to a pet. “My wife is my best friend.” Well, duh! I thought she was a casual acquaintance you saw at parties once or twice a year. What the person is actually saying is that that close relationship that some (heterosexual) people and prepubescent children find in a same-sex friend, and Aunt Tillie finds in her cat Fluffy, who according to her can serve a seven-course dinner and entertain the guests with a Fred Astaire imitation afetwards, he finds in his wife.

As a rabbi, Jesus was expected to marry. The Jews recognized that a religious leader needs that sort of emotional support even more than most people to do his job effectively. But as an itinerant preacher, he could not do so. As a human being, he was in need of that intimate emotional companionship. He found it in his relationship with John. He was “the disciple whom Jesus loved” as opposed to the others in that sense.

Note that I am not, as some have done, suggesting that Jesus was gay in his sexual orientation. So far as I know, he was celibate, and we have no hint whether he ever had sexual desires towards anybody. But that particular need that he shared with all humans was filled by John. In acknowledging that by calling himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” John was not bragging but humbly acknowledging that he had been able to serve his Master in that special way, to provide Him with something that He in His human nature needed.

As for Mary Magdalene, by her own admission, she didn’t “know how to love Him.” :wink: (cf. Webber, A.L., and Rice, T.)

:::also ducking:::

Why were the Greek terms used for “love” in John 21:17.14 (if they were)? And why weren’t they translated more accurately? If there was any difference in the original text between the two meanings of “love”, I would think they would make that clear. Certainly almost everybody knows the difference between eros, agape and phileo, even today.

It was just the “feed my sheep” bit that got me. :slight_smile: (I did assume that it was a metaphor of some sort, i.e. “Welcome to my club! Here’s your responsibilities” or “Care for my flock of humans”, but it sounded funny anyway) What can I say, I’m easily amused. I also think it’s funny that to find the cite again I had to run a search for “Jesus love sheep”. :smiley:


“Eppur, si muove!” - Galileo Galilei

Gaudere wrote:

Um … because the Gospels were originally written in Greek?

Or is this a trick question?


Visit the Internet Stellar Database at www.stellar-database.com

No tricks. I don’t know where my head was. That was not my brightest moment. :wink: I’ve heard some say that the Gospels, or parts of them, were originally in Hebrew or Aramaic. I have no idea if this is considered a legitimate claim by anybody but the people I’ve heard it from, though.

I think it’s a lousy translation if the don’t make the difference between the two "love"s clear though. I wonder why.


“Eppur, si muove!” - Galileo Galilei

This is just a guess on my part, but I would wager that the reason most English translations just use “love” in this passage is simply due to space constraints. “Love” is not the only duplicate word in this passage; in verses 15-17 there are two Greek forms of “love”, two verbs for “feed”, two nouns for “sheep”, and two verbs for “know”. 1st century Greek is not like 20th century English; Greek has varying shades of meaning, it can be interpreted different ways, it has words for things we no longer have words for, etc. If the English translators were to try to explain all of this stuff in equivalent English, this little 3-verse passage would probably run to a page and a half! So, to save space, they just limited themselves to the closest accurate English equivalent for both verbs, which is “love”. Remember, for native Greek speakers who were reading this in the original, they had no need of explanatory notes; they knew what it meant and could understand and appreciate the nuances in the language naturally. It’s only us poor folks with our limited tongue of today who have problems with it. :slight_smile:

On another thread, I got into the Gospels theory. Best evidence is that Mark, Luke, and John, and Matthew as we have it were written in Greek. Papias, writing about 50 years after usual date for John, says that Matthew wrote in Aramaic, and his description of Matthew’s work does not correspond with the book that the New Testament begins with.

Thanks, Polycarp. After tracer’s comment, I realized that I had not thought things through enough; I mean, I know that the gospels were in Greek; I’ve probably seen statements and references to that about a hundred times, and said it myself. However, the belief that the gospels were in Greek and that they were in Aramaic were apparently cohabiting quite peacefully in my head (and unfortunately, if was the belief that they were in Aramaic that was in charge of my typing fingers that day). Ain’t cognitive dissonance fun? It’s like the fact that I work across the street from the Sears tower, but about half the time I’ll call it the Empire State building. My brain “knows” it’s called the Sears tower at the same time it “knows” it’s called the Empire State building.

So I’m glad I’ve been forced to recognize that little inconsistent belief. And I appreciate tracer assuming that I was asking a trick question, rather than assuming I’m a twit. :wink:

“Eppur, si muove!” - Galileo Galilei

No, Gaudy, they would have called it the “Land of Lincoln Building” – New York’s nickname is “The Empire State.”

Does that mean the tallest building in Raleigh should be the Tarheel State Building? in Helena, the Big Sky Country Building? :slight_smile:

What, you are assuming that my belief that it is called the Empire State building makes any sense? :wink: I believe what happened is that somewhere (quite a while ago) I learned that the Empire State building was the tallest building in the world. Then I learned that the tallest building in the world was in Chicago. Therefore, that big building in Chicago must be the Empire State building. Perfect logic.

Just a few weeks ago I was giving someone directions and told them it was a few blocks away from the Empire State building. To say that following my directions would not have gotten them where they wished to go is a bit of an understatement.


“Eppur, si muove!” - Galileo Galilei

Jesus loves everybody. However,He has to try really hard with some of the people on this board.

Hey, the guy allowed himself to be crucified in exchange for the forgiveness of the sins of all people. What greater expression of love can you think of?

“I talked to God this morning and he don’t like you” - Ozzy Osborn

“Jesus loves you, but I don’t” - Ricky Warwick (The Almighty)

Expression of love or expression of stupidity? I sure wouldn’t let myself get tortured and killed for a bunch of people who might not even believe in me!

Jesus “allowed himself to be crucified?” Like, he had some choice in the matter? “Oh, uh, no thanks, I’ll be crucifed some other time . . .”

NOT to provoke another religious controversy (anybody believe me?), but on the assumption that the main facts of the last days of Jesus’s life as presented in the Gospels are somewhere near the truth, he went from the house where he had the Last Supper to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. The traditional site for the Garden is on the side of a hill across one of the valleys from the city proper (in those days). What’s on the other side of the hill? Wilderness. So he coulda bugged out, over the hill and into the wilderness, gotten out of Roman territory, and lived out his days teaching or building chairs and benches or something. Instead he decided to stay.

Take it for what you will; the extant data indicates that he did have a choice.