John 21:16
Parallel Verses
New International Version
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."

King James Bible
He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Darby Bible Translation
He says to him again a second time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? He says to him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I am attached to thee. He says to him, Shepherd my sheep.

World English Bible
He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I have affection for you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep."

Young's Literal Translation
He saith to him again, a second time, 'Simon, son of Jonas, dost thou love me?' he saith to him, 'Yes, Lord; thou hast known that I dearly love thee;' he saith to him, 'Tend my sheep.'

John 21:16 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Simon lovest thou me - Peter had thrice denied his Lord, and now Christ gives him an opportunity in some measure to repair his fault by a triple confession.

More than these? - This was a kind of reproach to Peter: he had professed a more affectionate attachment to Christ than the rest; he had been more forward in making professions of friendship and love than any of the others; and no one (Judas excepted) had treated his Lord so basely. As he had before intimated that his attachment to his Master was more than that of the rest, our Lord now puts the question to him, Dost thou love me more than these? To which Peter made the most modest reply - Thou knowest I love thee, but no longer dwells on the strength of his love, nor compares himself with even the meanest of his brethren. He had before cast the very unkind reflection on his brethren, Though all be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended, Matthew 26:33. But he had now learned, by dreadful experience, that he who trusteth his own heart is a fool; and that a man's sufficiency for good is of the Lord alone.

The words, more than these, Bishop Pearce thinks refer to the provisions they were eating, or to their secular employments; for says he, "It does not seem probable that Jesus should put a question to Peter which he could not possibly answer; because he could only know his own degree of love for Jesus, not that of the other disciples." But it appears to me that our Lord refers to the profession made by Peter, which I have quoted above.

It is remarkable that in these three questions our Lord uses the verb αγαπαω, which signifies to love affectionately, ardently, supremely, perfectly - see the note on Matthew 21:37; and that Peter always replies, using the verb φιλεω, which signifies to love, to like, to regard, to feel friendship for another. As if our Lord had said, "Peter, dost thou love me ardently and supremely?" To which he answers, "Lord, I feel an affection for thee - I do esteem thee - but dare, at present, say no more."

There is another remarkable change of terms in this place. In John 21:15, John 21:17, our Lord uses the verb βοσκδω, to feed, and in John 21:16 he uses the word ποιμαινω, which signifies to tend a flock, not only to feed, but to take care of, guide, govern, defend, etc., by which he seems to intimate that it is not sufficient merely to offer the bread of life to the congregation of the Lord, but he must take care that the sheep be properly collected, attended to, regulated, guided, etc.; and it appears that Peter perfectly comprehended our Lord's meaning, and saw that it was a direction given not only to him, and to the rest of the disciples, but to all their successors in the Christian ministry; for himself says, 1 John 5:2 : Feed the flock of God (ποιμανατε το ποιμνιον του Θεου) which is among you, taking the oversight (επισκοπουντες, acting as superintendents and guardians), not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind. Every spiritual shepherd of Christ has a flock, composed of Lambs - young converts, and Sheep - experienced Christians, to feed, guide, regulate, and govern. To be properly qualified for this, his wisdom and holiness should always exceed those of his flock. Who is sufficient for these things? The man who lives in God, and God in him.

To the answer of Christ, in John 21:16, the later Syriac adds, If thou lovest me and esteemest me, feed my sheep.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

the second.

John 18:17,25 Then said the damsel that kept the door to Peter, Are not you also one of this man's disciples? He said, I am not...

Matthew 26:72 And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.

my sheep.

John 10:11-16,26,27 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep...

Psalm 95:7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if you will hear his voice,

Psalm 100:3 Know you that the LORD he is God: it is he that has made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Zechariah 13:7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, said the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd...

Matthew 25:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another...

Luke 15:3-7 And he spoke this parable to them, saying...

Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers...

Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep...

1 Peter 2:25 For you were as sheep going astray; but are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

Library
November 20. "The Disciple whom Jesus Loved Leaned on his Breast" (John xxi. 20).
"The disciple whom Jesus loved leaned on His breast" (John xxi. 20). An American gentleman once visited the saintly Albert Bengel. He was very desirous to hear him pray. So one night he lingered at his door, hoping to overhear his closing devotions. The rooms were adjoining and the doors ajar. The good man finished his studies, closed his books, knelt down for a moment and simply said: "Dear Lord Jesus, things are still the same between us," and then sweetly fell asleep. So close was his communion
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Beach and the Sea
'When the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore; but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.'--JOHN xxi. 4. The incident recorded in this appendix to John's Gospel is separated from the other appearances of our risen Lord in respect of place, time, and purpose. They all occurred in and about Jerusalem; this took place in Galilee. The bulk of them happened on the day of the Resurrection, one of them a week after. This, of course, to allow time for the journey, must have been at a considerably
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: St. John Chaps. XV to XXI

Lovest Thou Me?
Without preface, for we shall have but little time this morning--may God help us to make good use of it!--we shall mention three things: first a solemn question--"Lovest thou me?" secondly, a discreet answer, "Yes, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee;" and thirdly, a required demonstration of the fact, "He saith unto him, Feed my lambs;" or, again, "Feed my sheep." I. First, then, here was A SOLEMN QUESTION, which our Saviour put to Peter, not for his own information, for, as Peter said, "Thou knowest
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 3: 1857

Christ among the Common Things of Life
William James Dawson, Congregational preacher and evangelist, was born in Towcester, Northamptonshire, in 1854. He was educated at Kingswood School, Bath, and Didsbury College, Manchester. He has long been known as an author of originality and pure literary style. In 1906 he received the pastorate of Highbury Quadrant Congregational Church, London, and accepted an invitation to do general evangelistic work under the auspices of the National Council of the Congregational churches of the United States.
Various—The World's Great Sermons, Volume 10

Cross References
Matthew 2:6
"'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'"

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.

1 Peter 5:2
Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, watching over them--not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve;

Revelation 7:17
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; 'he will lead them to springs of living water.' 'And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.'"

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