Do you love me?


An ageless question. What answer will we give?

Jhn 21:15 ¶ So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, [son] of Jonas, do you love me more than these? He said unto him, Yes, Lord; you know that I love thee. He said unto him, Feed my lambs.

Jhn 21:16   He said to him again the second time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, do you love me? He said unto him, Yes, Lord; you know that I love thee. He said unto him, Tend my sheep.

Jhn 21:17   He said unto him the third time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, do you love me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, do you love me? And he said unto him, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love thee. Jesus said unto him, Feed my sheep.

Jesus asks the same question 3 times.

Peter gives the same answer 3 times.

But Jesus gives 3 different instructions to Peter.

Traditionally, it is taught that Jesus questioned him 3 times because Peter had denied him 3 times.

But, this was after Jesus had raised from the dead (verse 14).

What purpose would this serve but to make Peter feel guilty after he had been forgiven?

It would be different if this had occurred before the crucifixion, and Jesus was predicting the denial by Peter.

Here, the questions occur after the crucifixion, and resurrection.

So, what was Jesus doing?

If one looks at the next verse, we see Jesus predicting Peter’s future death.

Jhn 21:18   Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When you were young, you girded thyself, and walked whither you would: but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry [thee] whither you would not.

Peter would stretch out his arms on a cross, just like what happened to Jesus.


From what I see, Jesus had 2 reasons for these questions:

1. He was giving Peter the instructions to feed the lambs (new converts) and to take care of the “older” sheep (Hebrew believers), and feed them the Word. This would be Peter’s life mission.

2. It was an act of kindness for Jesus to warn Peter of the type of death he would experience for his faithfulness to the gospel. To be caught off guard might shake his faith. But being warned, he had time to mentally and spiritually prepare for what was ahead of him.


How does Jesus’s question apply to us today?

We need to know how much, or how little, we love Him.

We need to know our level of commitment.

Some of us may die for our faith.

Some of us will not.

Some of us may die because we are not faithful enough, and our lack of devotion creates a situation where we do not have God’s protection.

We also need to understand our mission as believers.

While God is worthy of worship and this should be done, privately and corporately, it all goes back to love.

We need to feed the Lords’ lambs and sheep with the Word.

This is the purpose of the gospel.

Then we also need to consider the future that our faith will lead us into.

Are we prepared?

Only God knows how we will leave this life. Jesus thought it necessary to reveal Peter’s future, so he could prepare.

Maybe we should seek the Lord on this about our own personal future.

What would he have us do? Where would he have us go?

What will happen to us?

Will our death or life glorify him the way it should?

Will there be danger, and will we be prepared, or caught off guard?

If we die naturally, or by the hand of man, will our death be a witness to His glory?

Just something to think about.

19 Responses to “Do you love me?”

  1. I like your analysis of this scripture story, Marianne.
    More astute than any I have read.

    I can’t, however, discuss intelligently thoughts about
    the way I will die. I feel we are simply in His hands,
    and have no major say about it. I hope I will be raptured,
    and not have to go through a degrading death. Deaths I have
    witnessed have been courageous but somewhat degrading, people
    in the hands of a medical bureaucracy, people ushered out
    according to plan. When we are old and weak, we don’t have
    a lot of control about things like that.

    When my husband died two years ago, a very interesting thing
    happened. I have not spoken a lot about it, because it is
    pretty incomprehensible. The night before he died, there was
    faint but clear “drumming” and chanting outside his window,
    as if from Indians. Three nurses and my atheist son, and I,
    heard it. It continued from dusk until dawn and then stopped.
    He died shortly after that when I left him for the first time in
    twelve days and nights to go home and pack for the hospice he
    was to be transferred to.

    I know a man who is presently close to death, on a forum for
    people with “myeloproliferative diseases”. Karl, for that is his
    name, has been writing and counseling people even though he is
    within days of death, with a body which his doctors cannot even
    understand how it is alive. Karl told me that Indians honor a
    warrior in death with this dusk to dawn drumming and chanting.
    This helped me understand my husband’s courageous nature even more
    than I had. He met death with honor….but did it honor God?
    I am not sure. It was as God approved, that is all I can say.

    • Hi Mariel

      Thank you for sharing that. That time must have been difficult for you. I don’t think any of us 100% are ready for death, since we don’t know how it will happen.

      The idea here is to at least ask the Lord, and see if he reveals anything we should know. If he does not give us a clear idea, then we just face the future with faith, and things will take its normal course.

  2. “Will our death or life glorify him the way it should?”

    I would phrase this as:

    Will we in death or life glorify Him the way we should?


    • 🙂 that sounds good too.

      • Even the bible says love everyone even sinners as Yeshua prayed for them when he hung on the cross. I wish i could tell Yeshua that I tried to the best of my ability to love but the stress became unbearable-fatigue from work & life almost everyday. Even the people that didn’t choose to be with him still need his love many of them were hurting & displaced their pain. Long live the King of Kings & Lord of Lords till heaven & earth pass or until the Lion of Judah-Yeshua brings healing to a dying human race. Forgive the Jews & anyone that crucified you!

  3. As a sister in Christ Jesus I love you and I love all of Yahweh’s children that are his.

    • I love you too, David. May God bless you always.

      • Why don’t people say i love you to people who obviously have lost thier way and made some really bad choices. Maybe believers should start praying & asking to bind their demons to relieve them i know you’ve seen these people on the street or in the church, schools, stores, workplace or at shelters. They were once a father, pastor mother, sister, brother, friend, worker, teacher, parent, child. How many of you thought you had it all figured out-someone probably prayed for you to overcome. Prayer is free and everyone deserves to be prayed for.

  4. Good thoughts! Since Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three yet One, I wander if each may have addressed Peter individually….whether Peter may have been asked once by the Father, once by the Son, and once by the Holy Spirit. The message, indeed, as you say …makes clear the connection of Love and both the spiritual and physical care for the brethren.

  5. Marianne, it is interesting to notice that Jesus used agapas, the strong word for love and Peter philo, which is a weaker version.
    I do not think that Jesus wanted to prepare Peter. He would have figured it out very soon with Stephen got stoned.
    I have heard that the first church in Jerusalem expected Jesus’ return in a very short time. Now that I read this one verse, it dawns on me that either Jesus knew the day of His return after His resurrection or that it was not in the near future.

    Mariel, did your husband have anything to do with Indians? Karl seems to be a man who has settled his ambitions and desire for life. Even if we are not seriously ill, we should have this kind of devotion. Does it glorify God? It may achieve more to His glory than an easy well going life without any problems. Do people see the Lord’s hand in that? Seldomly! Someone in our church suddenly got a brain hemorrhage. He died within a few days. Only after that and the funeral, the relatives started to miss his Christian character and started to come to our church to find out about the environment where he lived his faith.

  6. I think about this subject all the time. What is the quote? What you do to the least of these, you do to me, or something along those lines.

    Which means the poor, hungry, and weak.

    As a human I find myself always less than perfect, but I am confident when I come across the poor, or hungry in the Hospital I work at, I remind myself these are the ones Jesus preached to, and helped.

    For what ever reason I am blessed so much in health, and work, I can at least do my best to those who have it a lot harder than I. I have to remind myself every day to see others as created in G-d’s image. Then, I can be more of a help to those I perform exams on. A lot of the time, happyness fills my heart when I remember to do this. It is strange.

  7. Hi Marianne. I kinda see it this way.

    Just as Peter denied Jesus 3 times openly for all to hear, he was now verbally acknowledging Jesus as Lord 3 times. This confession began the healing process for Peter so he could continue on in the ministry of Christ.

    Jesus gives 3 different instructions to Peter once he was completely restored and fit to be used by God,
    vs 15- Feed my lambs. Vs 16 Feed my sheep. Vs-17 feed my sheep.

    There is a progression. Peter was to instruct the young Lamb (young Church) which would grow into sheep (fully mature) ready for ministry. Peter’s was tasked with the care and love for the body until it matured. God bless sister.

  8. Walk for Christ from CA to Missouri!

  9. Hi!

    There is a difference between Peter’s love (filia in greek or friendship) and Jesus’s love (agape in greek or self-giving, unconditional love). This makes sense only in greek original text of the Gospels. It shows Peter’s humanistic and Jesus divine love.

  10. If ye love me keep my commandments. John 14:15.

    Isn’t it strange how the one commandment we are told to remember is the one to forget isn’t it?

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