Do You Love Me?

Do you love me more than these?

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Do You Love Me
JOHN 21 COMMENTARY
John 21:4-8 Jesus
John 21:9-14 153 Fish

John 21:15-17 Do You Love Me?

John 21:18-25 Stretch Out Your Hands
JOHN 21:15-17  15 So when they had eaten 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 love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” 16 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 love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, 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, “Feed My sheep.

What does Jesus call Peter?
"Simon, son of Jonah" (John 21:15-17).

Why do you think Jesus called him that?
What had turned Simon into Peter, the rock, was his relationship with Jesus. Since that relationship had been compromised by Peter's denial of Jesus, Simon was being called Simon until that relationship could be re-established, which is what Jesus does in this passage.

What does Jesus ask Peter?
If he loves Him.

Why?
Jesus wasn't asking because He didn't know the answer. Peter was correct in saying, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You" (John 21:17). Jesus was doing it to have Peter confront his sins, which had to be addressed and removed before he can be commissioned to tend to the Lord's sheep.

How many times did Jesus ask Peter?
Three times.

Why did Jesus repeat the same question three times?
Because Peter denied Jesus three times.

Are Jesus’ questions exactly the same?
Actually not.

What are His three questions to Peter?
“Do you love Me more than these?” (John 21:15)
“Do you love Me?” (John 21:16)
“Do you love Me?” (John 21:17)

Who are the “these” in John 21:15?
The other disciples with whom they had just "eaten breakfast" (John 21:15).

Why would Jesus ask Peter if he loves Him more than them?
Before His crucifixion, when Jesus had said that the disciples will be scattered, Peter had declared in effect that he loved Jesus more than the other disciples did: "Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘ I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee." Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble” (Matthew 26:31-33).

Are the second and the third questions same or different?
Although they read the same in English, they are actually different in the original Greek. While English has only one word for “love,” there are quite a few in Greek. There is eros for erotic love (none of the Greek words in the New Testament translated, "love," in English is eros), philos for friendship, storge for affection from familiarity among family members or others brought together not by their choice, philostorgos, which combines philos and storge, and philadelphia for brotherly love. And then there’s agape, the sacrifial, unconditional love. In the passage above, Jesus uses the verb form of agape in the first two of His three questions and the verb form of philos in the third, while Peter responds with the verb form of philos all three times.

So what really is happening?
Jesus initially asks Peter if he loves Him sacrificially "more than these" (John 21:15). Instead of addressing the comparison, Peter answers by claiming his love for Jesus as a friend; after betraying Jesus, there was no way he could claim anything more than that. Jesus then drops the comparison and asks Peter if he loves Him sacrificially. Peter sticks to his claim of friendly love. With His third question, Jesus drops the level of love down to Peter’s, and there’s a match. Jesus will start working on us with whatever level of love we have for Him, but He does demand humility, which is what Peter displayed in John 21:15-17, in contrast to his prideful declaration in Matthew 26:31-33 above.

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