John 21:15
Parallel Verses
New International Version
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."

New Living Translation
After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," Peter replied, "you know I love you." "Then feed my lambs," Jesus told him.

English Standard Version
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

New American Standard Bible
So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My lambs."

King James Bible
So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?"" Yes, Lord," he said to Him, "You know that I love You." "Feed My lambs," He told him.

International Standard Version
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" Peter told him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus told him, "Feed my lambs."

NET Bible
Then when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these do?" He replied, "Yes, Lord, you know I love you." Jesus told him, "Feed my lambs."

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And after they had breakfast, Yeshua said to Shimeon Kaypha, “Shimeon, Bar Yonah, do you love me more than these things?” He said to him, “Yes, my Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Shepherd my lambs for me.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
After they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than the other disciples do?" Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus told him, "Feed my lambs."

Jubilee Bible 2000
So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He said unto him, Yes, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He said unto him, Feed my lambs.

King James 2000 Bible
So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me more than these? He said unto him, Yea, Lord; you know that I love you. He said unto him, Feed my lambs.

American King James Version
So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me more than these? He said to him, Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. He said to him, Feed my lambs.

American Standard Version
So when they had broken their fast, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon,'son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

Douay-Rheims Bible
When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.

Darby Bible Translation
When therefore they had dined, Jesus says to Simon Peter, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He says to him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I am attached to thee. He says to him, Feed my lambs.

English Revised Version
So when they had broken their fast, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

Webster's Bible Translation
So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him, Yes, Lord: thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him, Feed my lambs.

Weymouth New Testament
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these others do?" "Yes, Master," was his answer; "you know that you are dear to me." "Then feed my lambs," replied Jesus.

World English Bible
So when they had eaten their breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I have affection for you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."

Young's Literal Translation
When, therefore, they dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of Jonas, dost thou love me more than these?' he saith to him, 'Yes, Lord; thou hast known that I dearly love thee;' he saith to him, 'Feed my lambs.'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

21:15-19 Our Lord addressed Peter by his original name, as if he had forfeited that of Peter through his denying him. He now answered, Thou knowest that I love thee; but without professing to love Jesus more than others. We must not be surprised to have our sincerity called into question, when we ourselves have done that which makes it doubtful. Every remembrance of past sins, even pardoned sins, renews the sorrow of a true penitent. Conscious of integrity, Peter solemnly appealed to Christ, as knowing all things, even the secrets of his heart. It is well when our falls and mistakes make us more humble and watchful. The sincerity of our love to God must be brought to the test; and it behoves us to inquire with earnest, preserving prayer to the heart-searching God, to examine and prove us, whether we are able to stand this test. No one can be qualified to feed the sheep and lambs of Christ, who does not love the good Shepherd more than any earthly advantage or object. It is the great concern of every good man, whatever death he dies, to glorify God in it; for what is our chief end but this, to die to the Lord, at the word of the Lord?

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 15-19. -

(2) The revelations to be made in the services dictated by love and issuing in martyrdom. The confession made by Simon Peter, and the charge given to him. Verse 15. - When therefore they had breakfasted, Jesus saith to Simon Peter. His full name and Christ-given appellation is in the mind of the evangelist; but he, with marked emphasis, shows that our Lord went back to his relations with Simon before the latter's first introduction to him (see John 1:42, etc.), and recalls the attitude Christ had taken to Simon on more than one memorable occasion (Matthew 16:17; Luke 22:31). On two of these occasions the simple humanity of the apostle was the basis on which the Lord proceeded to confer upon him the high official designation. The grace of God, in the first instance, selected Simon of Jonah to be a rock. In the second, "not flesh and blood," but the Father's grace, revealed the mystery of the Divine Sonship to him, and won the name of Peter. In the third, the utter weakness of Simon's own flesh reveals the power of the prayer of Jesus for him, so that he might ultimately convert his brethren; and now "Simon" is reinstated after his fall into his apostolic office. Simon, son of Jona - or, John (see John 1:42, note) - lovest thou me more than these? i.e. more than these other disciples love me? Thou hast seen more of my compassion, farther into my heart, deeper into my Person, my position, and my work, than they have done; thou hast dared again and again to ask for higher service and more conspicuous distinction. Thou hast made louder protestations than any of these of thine unworthiness to serve me, and in the deep consciousness of humiliation thou hast been more emphatic than any of them in refusing grace which thou thoughtest it might dishonor me to give. Thou didst indeed say, "Though all men should be offended at me or should deny me," thou wouldst never be offended and never deny me. "Dost thou love me more than they do?" There is no positive reference to the denial and fall of Peter; but the implication and suggestion cannot be hidden, though Hengstenberg and others fail to appreciate it. The circumstance that Peter was "grieved" because the Lord put this question to him a third time makes the reference very little less than explicit. The real significance of the narrative is the reinstitution of Peter in the position of importance he had filled throughout, and an indication of the nature and quality of that service. In Simon's reply, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee, three things are very noticeable.

(1) Peter says nothing of the superiority of his affection for his Lord over that of his colleagues. Had they not in outward act been more faithful than he? He could not arrogate any sweeter, dearer, more abounding affection than he was willing to believe that they felt for their Master. It is scarcely worth while to notice the miserable translation that some few commentators have suggested: "Lovest thou me more than (thou lovest) these fishing-smacks and this thriving business on the lake?" Observe

(2) Peter's admission that the Lord knew his inmost heart, concedes, therefore, that the question was merely intended to test his faithfulness, and force him to a more salutary and binding acknowledgment. Notice

(3) Peter's change of phraseology. The word used for "love" by the Lord is ἀγαπάω, but that which is used in response by the apostle is φιλῶ, the love of natural emotion, and even tender, intimate, personal affection. The Latin language, by rendering φιλῶ by amo rather than diligo, expresses the subtle shades of meaning between φιλεῖν and ἀγαπᾶν. There is, however, no English word but "love" for them both. The admirable remarks of Archbishop Trench ('Synonyms of New Testament,' § 12.) find special illustration in these verses. Many passages occur in which amo and φιλέω seem to mean more and have deeper intensity than diligo and ἀγαπάω. Amari is the affection which a friend may desire from a friend, even more than diligi; but the latter denotes choice, mental conviction, and self-recognition of the fact. Antony, in his funeral oration over Caesar (Dion Cassius, 41:48, quoted by Trench), says, Ἐφιλάσατε αὐτὸν ὡς πατέρα καὶ ἠγαπήσατε ὡς εὐεργέτην. Thus in the New Testament we are continually told of the ἀγαπᾶν τὸν Θεόν, but never of the φιλεῖν τὸν Θεόν. God is himself said to ἀγαπᾶν and φιλεῖν τὸν υἱόν. When, therefore, the Lord here asks Simon, Ἀγαπᾶς," Dost thou esteem me worthy of thy love?" Simon, with a burst of personal affection, says, yet with a certain humility, "I love thee" - meaning, "Such love as I can lavish upon thee, such as I may dare in my humility to offer thee, O my Master, Brother, Friend!" This being the case, Jesus saith, Feed my lambs. Love to Christ is the first, high, main condition of faithful service. The chief of the apostles will have this as his prime, chief, and most laudable service. Each of the terms of the commission, in its threefold repetition, resembles the other; and Meyer says the whole duty of the pastor of souls and earthly shepherd of the flock is involved in each of the three expressions. Our Lord commences, however, with providing true food, seasonable nourishment, for the "lambs" of the flock. The tender emotion involved in the term cannot be excluded, but it is a comprehensive and suggestive one, and embraces the young converts, the first believers, those who with impetuosity and gladness receive the Word; the little children who will literally crowd into the Church become the highest and sacredest care of the chiefest apostles and most honored of pastors. The first, the main thing they need, is the milk of the Word, and the sweetest pastures. This consideration of the next generation, and gracious care for the children and the childlike of every successive age, is one of the sacred signs of Divine revelation. Our Lord is represented in the synopties as "suffering the little children" to "come to" him, as "blessing them," and rejoicing in their hosannas. St. John preserves and glorifies the whole conception by recording this commission of the risen Lord to the greatest of the apostles. If the babes and sucklings had "held their peace, the stones would have cried out," is the pathetic approval of the rejected Lord. "Feed my lambs" is the gracious, unexpected summons of the triumphant Christ and Lord of all.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

So when they had dined,.... The Persic version adds,

Jesus turned his face to Simon Peter; he did not interrupt them whilst they were eating; but when they had comfortably refreshed themselves, he looked at Peter, and singled him out from the rest, and directed his discourse to him; and saith unto Simon Peter,

Simon, son of Jonas; not John, as the Vulgate Latin, and Nonnus, and some copies read; for this answers not to the Hebrew word Jochanan, but Jonah, the same name with the prophet. Some have observed, that Christ spoke to him particularly by his original name, and not by that which he himself had given him, with a view to his strong faith, as Cephas, or Peter; but it should be known that Christ calls him by this name of Simon bar Jonah, when he made the most ample profession of his faith in him, and was pronounced blessed by him, Matthew 16:16

lovest thou me more than these? meaning, not than the fishes he had caught, nor the net and boat, or any worldly enjoyment, nor than he loved the disciples; but the question is, whether he loved Christ more than the rest of the disciples loved him: the reason of which was, because he had some time ago declared, though all the disciples were offended at Christ, and should deny him, he would not; and had just now thrown himself into the sea to come to him first, as if he loved him more than they did: which question is put, not out of ignorance, or as if Christ knew not whether he loved him or not, and what was the degree of his affection to him; but because the exercise of this grace, and the expressions of it, are very grateful to him; and that Peter also might have an opportunity of expressing it before others, who had so publicly denied him:

he saith unto him, yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee: not in word and tongue, but in deed and in truth; in sincerity, and without dissimulation, fervently and superlatively; for the truth of which he appeals to Christ himself; for he was so conscious to himself of the reality of his love, and the sincerity of his affection, that he chooses to make Christ himself judge of it, rather than say any more of it himself; though he modestly declines saying that he loved him more than the rest of the disciples did, having had an experience of his vanity and self-confidence. He was sure he loved Christ heartily; but whether he loved him more than the rest did, he chose not to say:

he saith unto him, feed my lambs; the younger and more tender part of the flock, weak believers, Christ's little children, newborn babes, the day of small things, which are not to be despised, the bruised reed that is not to be broken, and the smoking flax that is not to be quenched; but who are to be nourished, comforted, and strengthened, by feeding them with the milk of the Gospel, and by administering to them the ordinances and breasts of consolation. These Christ has an interest in, and therefore calls them "my lambs", being given him by the Father, and purchased by his blood, and for whom he has a tender concern and affection; and nothing he looks upon as a firmer and clearer proof and evidence of love to him, than to feed these lambs of his, and take care of them.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

15-17. when they had dined, Jesus saith—Silence appears to have reigned during the meal; unbroken on His part, that by their mute observation of Him they might have their assurance of His identity the more confirmed; and on theirs, from reverential shrinking to speak till He did.

Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?—referring lovingly to those sad words of Peter, shortly before denying his Lord, "Though all men shall be offended because of Thee, yet will I never be offended" (Mt 26:33), and intending by this allusion to bring the whole scene vividly before his mind and put him to shame.

Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee—He adds not, "more than these," but prefixes a touching appeal to the Saviour's own omniscience for the truth of his protestation, which makes it a totally different kind of speech from his former.

He saith unto him, Feed my lambs—It is surely wrong to view this term as a mere diminutive of affection, and as meaning the same thing as "the sheep" [Webster and Wilkinson]. It is much more according to usage to understand by the "lambs," young and tender disciples, whether in age or Christian standing (Isa 40:11; 1Jo 2:12, 13), and by the "sheep" the more mature. Shall we say (with many) that Peter was here reinstated in office? Not exactly, since he was not actually excluded from it. But after such conduct as his, the deep wound which the honor of Christ had received, the stain brought on his office, the damage done to his high standing among his brethren, and even his own comfort, in prospect of the great work before him, required some such renewal of his call and re-establishment of his position as this.

John 21:15 Additional Commentaries
Context
Jesus Reinstates Peter
15So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My lambs." 16He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Shepherd My sheep."…
Cross References
Ezekiel 34:2
"Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock?

Matthew 16:17
Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.

Matthew 26:33
Peter replied, "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will."

Mark 14:29
Peter declared, "Even if all fall away, I will not."

Luke 12:32
"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.

Luke 22:32
But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

John 1:42
And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter).

John 13:37
Peter asked, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."

John 21:12
Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord.

John 21:17
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.

Acts 20:28
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

Acts 20:29
I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.
Treasury of Scripture

So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me more than these? He said to him, Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. He said to him, Feed my lambs.

son.

John 21:16,17 He said to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you …

John 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, …

Jona.

Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: …

Bar-jona. lovest.

John 8:42 Jesus said to them, If God were your Father, you would love me: for …

John 14:15-24 If you love me, keep my commandments…

John 16:27 For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me, and …

Matthew 10:37 He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: …

Matthew 25:34-45 Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come, you blessed …

1 Corinthians 16:21,22 The salutation of me Paul with my own hand…

2 Corinthians 5:14,15 For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that …

Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision; …

Ephesians 6:24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

1 Peter 1:8 Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, …

1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

1 John 5:1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every …

more.

John 21:7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, It is the …

Matthew 26:33,35 Peter answered and said to him, Though all men shall be offended …

Mark 14:29 But Peter said to him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.

thou knowest.

John 21:17 He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me? …

2 Samuel 7:20 And what can David say more to you? for you, Lord GOD, know your servant.

2 Kings 20:3 I beseech you, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before you …

Hebrews 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight…

Revelation 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall …

Feed.

Psalm 78:70-72 He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds…

Jeremiah 3:15 And I will give you pastors according to my heart, which shall feed …

Jeremiah 23:4 And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and …

Ezekiel 34:2-10,23 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and …

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock, over the …

1 Timothy 4:15,16 Meditate on these things; give yourself wholly to them; that your …

Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, …

1 Peter 2:25 For you were as sheep going astray; but are now returned to the Shepherd …

1 Peter 5:1-4 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and …

lambs.

Genesis 33:13 And he said to him, My lord knows that the children are tender, and …

Isaiah 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs …

Matthew 18:10,11 Take heed that you despise not one of these little ones; for I say to you…

Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you …

Romans 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive you, but not to doubtful disputations.

Romans 15:1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, …

1 Corinthians 3:1-3 And I, brothers, could not speak to you as to spiritual, but as to …

1 Corinthians 8:11 And through your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

Ephesians 4:14 That we from now on be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried …

Hebrews 12:12,13 Why lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees…

1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may …

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