John 21:16

viviana's picture

In John 21:16, Jesus asked Simon Peter "Do you love me more than these" and Peter replied 3x that "Yes, Lord; You know that I love you." Why did Jesus asked Peter same question 3x? What kind of love Jesus is asking to Peter?

JayDam's picture

The scene is critical

A note that John makes when he records Peter's denial of Christ is that the scene centered around a charcoal fire. It is around this setting that Peter denies Christ 3x.

Now Christ is setting the same scene for Peter, and has a charcoal fire going when Peter comes up with the other disciples. Peter's 3 acts of denial are then replayed around the same type of fire, with Peter now able to declare his love for Christ 3x.

I don't know if we can take any real significance from the word for love each time, as to do so is to read much more into the situation than we can support. I do believe the first phrasing of the question is important, and Peter's reply supports an understanding of what he has learned.

We know that Peter was a very zealous follower of Christ, but I think he learned a valuable lesson with his denial, that he is not above making a serious mistake. Christ gives him a chance to demonstrate what he learned.

Christ says, "Do you love me more than these (other disciples)?" Peter replies with a yes I love you, but leaves out the prideful position of loving more than the others. Thus, in Peter's response he rephrases Christ's question as an affirmative statement, absent the position of pride or over zealousness he might have had before that made him feel like he was better than the others. Peter has learned a valuable lesson.