Who We Are
 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."  Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."  The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.  Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go."  Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!" Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Peter, who had betrayed Jesus three times, is now commissioned by Jesus three times to serve. Scripture does not reveal what happened between the betrayal and the commissioning. Maybe there has already been an intimate moment of forgiveness; maybe this is it. Jesus calls Peter to step out and lead others.
But first, Jesus asks Peter if he loves him. The writer suggests an interesting interplay of words here, although there is some debate about their significance. Twice Jesus asks Peter if he loves him, using the word agape--a sacrificial love that comes from God (15,16). Twice Peter responds that he loves him with phileo love--the love of a friend. Finally, Jesus asks Peter if he loves him with phileo love.
It is interesting that the Peter who had claimed so boldly that he would die for Jesus (13:37) is the same Peter who would hesitate to admit that he loves Jesus! Why? It could be that Peter is still very conscious of his own failings. Yet Jesus reveals even in Peter's tentativeness that he is restored. The very people entrusted to Jesus, he entrusts to Peter. Basically he says, "Love me ... Now go and care for those I love!"
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