John 21:17
Parallel Verses
New International Version
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.

New Living Translation
A third time he asked him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, "Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you." Jesus said, "Then feed my sheep.

English Standard Version
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.

New American Standard Bible
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 all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Tend My sheep.

King James Bible
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
He asked him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, "Do you love Me?" He said, "Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You." "Feed My sheep," Jesus said.

International Standard Version
He asked him a third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was deeply hurt that he had asked him a third time, "Do you love me?" So he told him, "Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you!" Jesus told him, "Feed my sheep.

NET Bible
Jesus said a third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was distressed that Jesus asked him a third time, "Do you love me?" and said, "Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you." Jesus replied, "Feed my sheep.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
He said a third time, “Shimeon Bar Yonah, do you love me?” And Kaypha was saddened that he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “My lord, you discern everything; you know that I love you.” Yeshua said to him, “Shepherd my ewes for me.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Jesus asked him a third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter felt sad because Jesus had asked him a third time, "Do you love me?" So Peter said to him, "Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you." Jesus told him, "Feed my sheep.

Jubilee Bible 2000
He said unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus said unto him, Feed my sheep.

King James 2000 Bible
He said unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Do you love me? And he said unto him, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. Jesus said unto him, Feed my sheep.

American King James Version
He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me? Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, Love you me? And he said to him, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. Jesus said to him, Feed my sheep.

American Standard Version
He saith unto him the third time, Simon,'son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Douay-Rheims Bible
He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep.

Darby Bible Translation
He says to him the third time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, art thou attached to me? Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, Art thou attached to me? and said to him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I am attached to thee. Jesus says to him, Feed my sheep.

English Revised Version
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Webster's Bible Translation
He saith to him the third time, Simon son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he said to him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said to him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith to him, Feed my sheep.

Weymouth New Testament
A third time Jesus put the question: "Simon, son of John, am I dear to you?" It grieved Peter that Jesus asked him the third time, "Am I dear to you?" "Master," he replied, "you know everything, you can see that you are dear to me." "Then feed my much-loved sheep," said Jesus.

World English Bible
He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you have affection for me?" Peter was grieved because he asked him the third time, "Do you have affection for me?" He said to him, "Lord, you know everything. You know that I have affection for you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.

Young's Literal Translation
He saith to him the third time, 'Simon, son of Jonas, dost thou dearly love me?' Peter was grieved that he said to him the third time, 'Dost thou dearly love me?' and he said to him, 'Lord, thou hast known all things; thou dost know that I dearly love thee.' Jesus saith to him, 'Feed my sheep;
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

Verse 17. - And now Peter seems to have conquered, by his persistence, the heart of his Lord, and Jesus adopts the very phrase which Peter twice over had substituted for that which he had himself used; for he saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas (John), lovest thou me? (φιλεῖς με;); as if he had said, "Dost thou indeed love me dearly, love me as a friend, love me with the earnestness and fervor that twice over has corrected my word into one more congenial to thee, and more ample and true than that used by myself?" This trait of Peter's character, which John has hinted on several occasions, is abundantly illustrated in the synoptic narrative and in the Acts of the Apostles. Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? The grief was natural. The repeated question suggests some doubt about his sincerity, and the adoption of the apostle's own word cut him with a more poignant heart-thrust? He may have thought thus: Jesus seems to distrust the reality of my personal affection. and will not accept my implication that this is more to me than the most thoughtful ἀγαπή, the most deeply meditated and measured reverence. He was grieved because a third time seems like an infinite repetition, and, if repeated thus a third time, it may be asked me again and again every day of my life. He was grieved from the irresistible analogy between the threefold denial of which he had been guilty, and this threefold interrogatory. He does not say as before, "Yea, Lord;" but commences, Lord, thou knowest (οϊδας) all things. Omniscience is freely conceded to the Lord. All things that Peter did, thought, or felt, all his bewilderment, all his mistakes, all his impulsiveness and mixture of motive, all his self-assertion, all his weakness and disloyalty, are known; but so also all the inner springs and lines of his nobler nature, and that though he played the fool, he was a hypocrite in his denials. The Lord knew that his faith did not really fail, though his courage did; and in virtue of this breadth of the Lord's knowing, he must have come to full cognizance of the entire meaning of Peter's life. Thou (seest) hast come fully to know that I love thee! Just because thou intuitively knowest all things. The play on οϊδας and γινώσκεις is obvious (see John 10:14; John 17:3, etc.). Jesus saith to him, Feed my little sheep. It is said by some that, even if this be the true reading, we have simply a renewal of the tenderness and strong emotion which led the Lord to speak of the ἄρνια on the first occasion. Doubtless deep and glowing affection pervades the use of these epithets; but if this be the sole explanation, then the reason of the adoption of πρόβατα in the second commission is not evident, ἄρνια would have answered the purpose. There is distinct progress in the ideas:

(1) "Feed my lambs;"

(2) "Rule (shepherd) my sheep;"

(3) "Feed my little sheep."

First, let Peter, let the apostolic company, let any one of the successors of the apostles, learn the delicate duty of supplying the just and appropriate nourishment to those that are young in years or in graces; then let him also learn to guide, direct, protect from outward foes, the mature disciples, and preserve the discipline of the flock, seeking the lost sheep until it be found; and he will find that then a third duty emerges. The sheep that are young in heart, the old men that are childlike in spirit, the trembling sheep that need even more care than the lambs themselves, are specially thrown upon the shepherd's care. Was not Peter himself a προβατιόν? Had he not shown that he was a most imperfect master of himself? He was mature in years, but childish as well as childlike in character. He could (for a while) only see one thing at a time, and he was impatient of the future. Mark welt his characteristic words, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man. O Lord!" "That be far from thee, O Lord!" "Why cannot I follow thee now?" "Thou shall never wash my feet!" "Not my feet only, but my hands and my head!" "Let us build for thee three tabernacles!" "Not so; I have never eaten anything common or unclean!" These are familiar illustrations of the childishness and infantile simplicity, babyish audacity, of the old disciple. Even after the Lord has risen from the dead, Peter ventures to correct his language. Christ, moreover, accepts his persistent alteration of the word for "love" item the lips of this προβατίον. Thus the Lord summons him to undertake a duty which he would on reflection be specially able to appreciate.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

He saith unto him the third time,.... That by these three testimonies, out of his mouth, the thing might be established, and be out of all doubt:

Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? is it so indeed that thou lovest me? is thy love really so hearty and sincere as thou savest? may it be depended upon?

Peter was grieved, because he said unto him the third time, lovest thou me? because it put him in mind of his having denied his Lord three times; the remembrance of which cut him to the heart and it added to his grief, that his love, which he knew was unfeigned, notwithstanding his conduct, should seem to be suspected:

and he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee; he appeals with great warmth and earnestness to him, as the omniscient God, and the searcher of all hearts, who knows all persons and things, and the secret thoughts, dispositions, and affections of men's minds, for the truth of his love to him; for though he knew the treachery of his own heart, and durst not trust to it; and therefore chose not to be determined by his own assertions, and was well aware that the sincerity of his love might be called in question by fellow Christians, because of his late conduct; but as everything was naked and open to his Lord, with whom he had to do, he lodges and leaves the appeal with him: so every soul that truly loves Christ, whatever Satan, the world, professors, or their own hearts under unbelieving frames, may suggest to the contrary, can appeal to Christ, as the trier of the reins of the children of men, that he it is whom their souls love; and though their love may be greatly tried, and they themselves be sorely tempted by Satan, and suffered to fall greatly; yet their love to Christ can never be lost; the fervency of it may be abated, the exercise of it may be very languid, but the principle itself always remains, as it did in Peter:

Jesus saith unto him, feed my sheep. It may be observed from the repetition of this phrase following upon Peter's declaration of his love to Christ, that such only are proper persons to feed the lambs and sheep of Christ, who truly and sincerely love him: and in doing which they show their love to him: and who indeed would be concerned in this service, but such? since the work is so laborious, the conduct of those to whom they minister oftentimes is so disagreeable, the reproach they meet with from the world, and the opposition made unto them by Satan, and all the powers of darkness: it is true indeed, there are some that take upon them this work, and pretend to do it, who do not love Christ; but then they are such who feed themselves, and not the flock; and who feed the world's goats, and not Christ's lambs and sheep, and in time of danger leave the flock; only the true lovers of Christ faithfully perform this service, and abide in it by preaching the pure Gospel of Christ, by administering his ordinances, in their right manner, and by directing souls in all to Christ, the heavenly manna, and bread of life. Dr. Lightfoot thinks that by the threefold repetition of the order to feed Christ's lambs and sheep, is meant the threefold object of Peter's ministry; the Jews in their own land, the Gentiles, and the Israelites of the ten tribes, that were in Babylon.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

17. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said the third time, &c.—This was the Physician's deepest incision into the wound, while yet smarting under the two former probings. Not till now would Peter discern the object of this succession of thrusts. The third time reveals it all, bringing up such a rush of dreadful recollections before his view, of his "thrice denying that he knew Him," that he feels it to the quick. It was fitting that he should; it was meant that he should. But this accomplished, the painful dialogue concludes with a delightful "Feed My sheep"; as if He should say, "Now, Simon, the last speck of the cloud which overhung thee since that night of nights is dispelled: Henceforth thou art to Me and to My work as if no such scene had ever happened."

John 21:17 Additional Commentaries
Context
Jesus Reinstates Peter
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." 17He 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 all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Tend My sheep. 18"Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go."…
Cross References
2 Samuel 7:20
"What more can David say to you? For you know your servant, Sovereign LORD.

John 13:38
Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!

John 16:30
Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God."

John 21:15
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."

John 21:16
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."

John 21:18
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."
Treasury of Scripture

He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me? Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, Love you me? And he said to him, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. Jesus said to him, Feed my sheep.

the third.

John 13:38 Jesus answered him, Will you lay down your life for my sake? Truly, …

John 18:27 Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.

Matthew 26:73,74 And after a while came to him they that stood by, and said to Peter, …

Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

grieved.

1 Kings 17:18 And she said to Elijah, What have I to do with you, O you man of …

Lamentations 3:33 For he does not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

Matthew 26:75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said to him, Before …

Mark 14:72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word …

Luke 22:61,62 And the Lord turned, and looked on Peter. And Peter remembered the …

2 Corinthians 2:4-7 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with …

2 Corinthians 7:8-11 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though …

Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed to …

1 Peter 1:6 Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, …

Lord.

John 2:24,25 But Jesus did not commit himself to them, because he knew all men…

John 16:30 Now are we sure that you know all things, and need not that any man …

John 18:4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come on him, went …

Jeremiah 17:10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every …

Acts 1:24 And they prayed, and said, You, Lord, which know the hearts of all …

Acts 15:8 And God, which knows the hearts, bore them witness, giving them the …

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

thou knowest that.

John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of …

Joshua 22:22 The LORD God of gods, the LORD God of gods, he knows, and Israel …

1 Chronicles 29:17 I know also, my God, that you try the heart, and have pleasure in …

Job 31:4-6 Does not he see my ways, and count all my steps…

Psalm 7:8,9 The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my …

Psalm 17:3 You have proved my heart; you have visited me in the night; you have …

2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that …

Feed.

John 21:15,16 So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of …

John 12:8 For the poor always you have with you; but me you have not always.

John 14:15 If you love me, keep my commandments.

John 15:10 If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as …

Matthew 25:40 And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch …

2 Corinthians 8:8,9 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of …

2 Peter 1:12-15 Why I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these …

2 Peter 3:1 This second letter, beloved, I now write to you; in both which I …

1 John 3:16-24 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life …

3 John 1:7,8 Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing …

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