“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.”
King James Version (KJV)
21:15 Simon, son of Jonah - The appellation Christ had given him, when be made that glorious confession, #Matt 16:16|, the remembrance of which might make him more deeply sensible of his late denial of him whom he had so confessed. Lovest thou me? - Thrice our Lord asks him, who had denied him thrice: more than these - Thy fellow disciples do? - Peter thought so once, #Matt 26:33|, but he now answers only - I love thee, without adding more than these. Thou knowest - He had now learnt by sad experience that Jesus knew his heart. My lambs - The weakest and tenderest of the flock.
Joh 21:15 Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? At the close of the feast, the Lord turned to Peter with this question, one that he repeated twice. On the night of the betrayal, when Christ intimated that his disciples would forsake him in the trial he was about to suffer, Peter spoke up and asserted that though all others forsook him he would never forsake him. What Christ had said might be true of the rest, but he was so loving, faithful and true, that he would die for him. Yet before the cock crow of the next morning he had thrice denied that he knew Jesus, even with his oaths. Such was the collapse of the confident disciple who "loved the Master better than these" other disciples. Since that fall, Christ had met with Peter among the rest of the disciples, but had not referred to this subject, but now has come the time for a restoration of Peter. Hence, he probes him with the question, Lovest thou me more than these? That question would at once recall to Peter his boastful claim, his awful fall, and would pierce him to the heart. He no longer claims that he is the truest of the apostolic band, does not even affirm confidently, but answers, "Thou knowest my heart; thou knowest that I love thee". Then said the Savior, "Feed my lambs".