John 21:15
Parallel Verses
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.

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.

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.'

John 21:15 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Lovest thou me more than these? - There is a slight ambiguity here in the original, as there is in our translation. The word these may be in the neuter gender, and refer to these things his boat, his fishing utensils, and his employments; or it may be in the masculine, and refer to the apostles. In the former sense it would mean, "Lovest thou me more than thou lovest these objects? Art thou now willing, from love to me, to forsake all these, and go and preach my gospel to the nations of the earth?" In the other sense, which is probably the true sense, it would mean, "Lovest thou me more than these other apostles love me?" In this question Jesus refers to the profession of superior attachment to him which Peter had made before his death Matthew 26:33; "Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended." Compare John 13:37. Jesus here slightly reproves him for that confident assertion, reminds him of his sad and painful denial, and now puts this direct and pointed question to him to know what was the present state of his feelings. After all that Peter had had to humble him, the Saviour inquired of him what had been the effect on his mind, and whether it had tended to prepare him for the arduous toils in which he was about to engage. This question we should all put to ourselves. It is a matter of much importance that we should ourselves know what is the effect of the dealings of divine Providence on our hearts, and what is our present state of feeling toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thou knowest that I love thee - Peter now made no pretensions to love superior to his brethren. His sad denial had convinced him of the folly of that claim; but still he could appeal to the Searcher of the heart, and say that he knew that he loved him. Here is the expression of a humbled soul - soul made sensible of its weakness and need of strength, yet with evidence of true attachment to the Saviour. It is not the most confident pretensions that constitute the highest proof of love to Christ; and the happiest and best state of feeling is when we can with humility, yet with confidence, look to the Lord Jesus and say, "Thou knowest that I love thee."

Feed my lambs - The word here rendered "feed" means the care afforded by furnishing nutriment for the flock. In the next verse there is a change in the Greek, and the word rendered feed denotes rather the care, guidance, and protection which a shepherd extends to his flock. By the use of both these words, it is supposed that our Saviour intended that a shepherd was both to offer the proper food for his flock and to govern it; or, as we express it, to exercise the office of a pastor. The expression is taken from the office of a shepherd, with which the office of a minister of the gospel is frequently compared. It means, as a good shepherd provides for the wants of his flock, so the pastor in the church is to furnish food for the soul, or so to exhibit truth that the faith of believers may be strengthened and their hope confirmed.

My lambs - The church is often compared to a flock. See John 10:1-16. Here the expression my lambs undoubtedly refers to the tender and the young in the Christian church; to those who are young in years and in Christian experience. The Lord Jesus saw, what has been confirmed in the experience of the church, that the success of the gospel among men depended on the care which the ministry would extend to those in early life. It is in obedience to this command that Sunday schools have been established, and no means of fulfilling this command of the Saviour have been found so effectual as to extend patronage to those schools. It is not merely, therefore, the privilege, it is the solemn duty of ministers of the gospel to countenance and patronize those schools.

John 21:15 Parallel Commentaries

Library
An Eloquent Catalogue
'There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of His disciples.'--JOHN xxi. 2. This chapter, containing the infinitely significant and pathetic account of our Lord's appearance to these disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, is evidently an appendix to the Gospel of John. The design of that Gospel is complete with the previous chapter, and there is a formal close, as of the whole book, at the end thereof. But whilst
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: St. John Chaps. XV to XXI

Youth and Age, and the Command for Both
Annual Sermon to the Young '... When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.... And when He had spoken this, He saith unto him, Follow Me.'--JOHN xxi. 18, 19. The immediate reference of these words is, of course, to the martyrdom of the Apostle Peter. Our Lord contrasts the vigorous and somewhat self-willed youth and the mellowed
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: St. John Chaps. XV to XXI

Instructions to Converts.
Text.--Feed my lambs.--John xxi. 15. YOU, who read your Bibles, recollect the connection in which these words are found, and by whom they were spoken. They were addressed by the Lord Jesus Christ to Peter, after he had denied his Lord, and had professed repentance. Probably one of the designs which Christ had in view, in suffering Peter to sin so awfully as to deny his master, was to produce a deeper work of grace in him, and thus fit him for the peculiar duty to which he intended to call him, in
Charles Grandison Finney—Lectures on Revivals of Religion

Synopsis. --Arbitrary Criticism of the Biblical Narratives of the Raising of the "Dead. " --Facts which it Ignores. --The Subject Related to the Phenomena of Trance
III SYNOPSIS.--Arbitrary criticism of the Biblical narratives of the raising of the "dead."--Facts which it ignores.--The subject related to the phenomena of trance, and records of premature burial.--The resuscitation in Elisha's tomb probably historical.--Jesus' raising of the ruler's daughter plainly a case of this kind.--His raising of the widow's son probably such.--The hypothesis that his raising of Lazarus may also have been such critically examined.--The record allows this supposition.--Further
James Morris Whiton—Miracles and Supernatural Religion

Cross References
Ezekiel 34:2
"Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock?

Matthew 16:17
And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 26:33
But Peter said to Him, "Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away."

Mark 14:29
But Peter said to Him, "Even though all may fall away, yet I will not."

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

Luke 22:32
but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."

John 1:42
He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas " (which is translated Peter).

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