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."
|SERMONS, ESSAYS AND OPINIONS||
John 21:15 records the resurrected Jesus asking his disciple Simon Peter if he loved Jesus more than these. This question connects to Peter's boast of never forsaking Jesus followed by his denial of Jesus three times shortly before his death. Implied in the question, Jesus seems to want to give Peter a chance to feel remorse for his denial whilst also letting him know he is forgiven, accepted and still trusted.
An interesting, unclear part of the question is the word "these" - Jesus asked Peter if he loved him more than "these." Although Peter seems to know exactly what Jesus means by "these" it isn't clear to us. It is possible that Jesus is asking Peter if he loves Jesus more than the fish he just caught and his worldly job of fisherman. Alternatively he might be asking Peter if Peter loves Jesus more than other people such as friends. Or finally, he might be asking Peter if Peter's love for Jesus is greater than the love the other disciples have for Jesus. All of these three options seem possible although regardless of which Jesus actually meant, the deeper message of importance is that Jesus was calling on Peter to love him completely and utterly and be ready to follow him wherever that led.
|Hebrew||ויהי אחרי אכלם אמר ישוע אל שמעון פטרוס שמעון בן יונה התאהב אתי יותר מאלה ויאמר אליו כן אדני אתה ידעת כי אהבתיך ויאמר אליו רעה את טלאי׃|
|Greek||οτε ουν ηριστησαν λεγει τω σιμωνι πετρω ο ιησους σιμων ιωαννου αγαπας με πλεον τουτων λεγει αυτω ναι κυριε συ οιδας οτι φιλω σε λεγει αυτω βοσκε τα αρνια μου|
|Latin||Cum ergo prandissent, dicit Simoni Petro Jesus : Simon Joannis, diligis me plus his ? Dicit ei : Etiam Domine, tu scis quia amo te. Dicit ei : Pasce agnos meos.|
|KJV||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.|
|WEB||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."|