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John 21:15-17 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Jesus Restores Peter

15 After they had breakfast, Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, son of John,[a] do you burn with love[b] for me more than these?”[c]

Peter answered, “Yes, Lord! You know that I have great affection for you!”

“Then take care of my lambs,”[d] Jesus said.

16 Jesus repeated his question the second time, “Simon, son of John, do you burn with love for me?”

Peter answered, “Yes, my Lord! You know that I have great affection for you!”

“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.

17 Then Jesus asked him again, “Peter, son of John, do you have great affection for me?”

Peter was saddened by being asked the third time[e] and said, “My Lord, you know everything. You know that I burn with love for you!”

Jesus replied, “Then feed my lambs!


  1. John 21:15 The Aramaic is “son of the dove.” See also vv. 16, 17.
  2. John 21:15 The Aramaic word for “love” is hooba, and is taken from a root word that means “to set on fire.” This was the word Jesus would have used to ask Peter, “Do you burn with love for me?” Our love for Jesus must be passionate and kindle a holy flame within our hearts. See Song. 8:6-7.
  3. John 21:15 As often is the case, Jesus’ words have more than one meaning. “These” can refer to the fish they had just caught, for Peter was a fisherman and loved to fish. He may have been counting and sorting the fish when Jesus asked him that question. But “these” most likely refers to the other disciples. It was Peter’s boast that he loved Jesus more than the others, and though everyone else would leave him, Peter never would. That boast proved empty, as within hours of making the claim, Peter denied he even knew Jesus three times. So Jesus asks Peter three times if he loved him. In essence, Jesus knew how to bring healing to Peter and remove the pain of his denial. Three times Peter denied Jesus, but three times he makes his confession of his deep love for Christ. By the third time, the “crowing rooster” inside Peter had been silenced, and now he was ready to be a shepherd for Jesus’ flock.
  4. John 21:15 The Aramaic is “feed my rams” (male lambs). This may refer to the other disciples. In v. 16 the Aramaic is simply “sheep.” And in v. 17 in Aramaic, Jesus uses the third term, “ewes” (female lambs). Some see in these that Peter was symbolically given charge of three flocks: Jews, Samaritans, and gentiles. Regardless, men and women need to be cared for and fed by the leadership of Christ’s church among the nations.
  5. John 21:17 Three times Peter denied Christ, so Jesus gave him three opportunities to redeem himself.
The Passion Translation (TPT)

The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC.
Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com


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