My wife and I were finishing up a marriage Bible study tonight and we came across this little quote from Donald Barnhouse:
“Love that goes upward is worship, love that goes outward is affection, love that stoops is grace.”
I’ve never heard it put that way but that really is a great definition for all three. Of course the word that makes you read it twice is “stoops.” But that’s exactly it. God “stooped to our level.” That’s grace. God on our level; loving on our level. I love the interchange between Peter and Jesus after the resurrection. You know the whole “Peter, do you love me?” Before I go on I must preface with this with a disclaimer.
I get irritated by a lot, but one of those many things I’m about to do.
*Using the phrase or direction of “in the original Greek” while speaking on Scripture.
With that said…here I go.
I understand that “in the original Greek” the question and answer between Jesus and Peter is a tad confusing. Jesus asks Peter twice if he “agape” loves him. Peter responds each time that he “phileo” loves Jesus. Finally, Jesus asks Peter if he “phileo” loves him and Peter, now with his feelings hurt, says that Jesus knows that he “phileo” loves him.
And there it is…the stooping. Jesus on Peter’s level. God came down. Grace is extended. Not necessarily the redemptive part we so desperately need, but the stooping love of a high and holy God. He’s taken care of the stooping love…our response should be the upward and outward side of love.