Jesus addresses Simon Peter

“When they had finished breakfast,

Jesus said to Simon Peter.


Son of John!

Do you love me

More than these?’

Peter said to him.



You know

That I love you!’

Jesus said to him.

‘Feed my lambs!’”

Ὅτε οὖν ἠρίστησαν, λέγει τῷ Σίμωνι Πέτρῳ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Σίμων Ἰωάνου, ἀγαπᾷς με πλέον τούτων; λέγει αὐτῷ Ναί, Κύριε, σὺ οἶδας ὅτι φιλῶ σε. λέγει αὐτῷ Βόσκε τὰ ἀρνία μου.

John uniquely said in this epilogue that when they had finished breakfast (Ὅτε οὖν ἠρίστησαν), Jesus (ὁ Ἰησοῦς) said (λέγει) or asked Simon Peter (τῷ Σίμωνι Πέτρῳ) a question.  Jesus called him Simon (Σίμων), son of John (Ἰωάνου), the same name that he used in calling Peter in chapter 1:44.  Jesus wanted to know if Simon loved (ἀγαπᾷς με) him more than the other disciples (πλέον τούτων) who were there.  These others included Thomas, Nathanael, the two Sons of Zebedee, James and John, and two other unnamed disciples that had been out fishing with Peter as mentioned in this chapter in verse 2.  Simon responded to him (λέγει αὐτῷ), calling him “Lord (Κύριε)”and said of course, yes (Ναί) that Jesus knew (σὺ οἶδας) that he loved him (ὅτι φιλῶ σε).  Jesus then told him (λέγει αὐτῷ) to feed (Βόσκε) his lambs (τὰ ἀρνία μου).  John was the only canonical gospel writer to use the term ἀρνία that means a lamb, or a little lamb.  The seven disciples of Jesus had been fishing at the Sea of Galilee, near Tiberias.  After the disciples had eaten their breakfast with Jesus, Jesus then turned to Simon Peter, but used his original name of Simon, son of John.  He wanted to know if Simon Peter had more love or ἀγαπᾷς for Jesus than the other disciples.  Peter responded that yes, he loved Jesus more than the other apostles.  Jesus knew that he loved him with a filial love of φιλῶ.  ἀγαπᾷς means to love, wish well to, take pleasure in, long for, love of reason, esteem, while φιλῶ means to love, have a friendship, regard with affection, or cherish.  Later the term ἀγαπᾷς often referred to the gathering of Christians at the Eucharistic meal.  Then Jesus told him to feed his little lambs.  Peter had always been more outspoken than the other apostles, even after Jesus had told him that he would deny him three times as earlier in this gospel, chapter 13:36-38.  Do you believe that Peter had a special role among the apostles?

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