16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
This second question of Jesus to Peter differed from the first. Peter did not answer the Lord’s question about loving Him “more than these.”
16 He said to him again a second time,
The words “more than these” were not repeated in this question.
“Simon, son of Jonah,
There is nothing in this passage that suggests Peter had distinctive authority over other apostles.
do you love Me?”
Jesus again used the Greek term agapao for love, the objective word for love. This time Jesus did not use the phrase “more than these.” His question dropped all comparisons.
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You [emphatic].”
Peter again used the Greek verb phileo for love, a reciprocal love. He gave the same answer as in the first question. This disciple said that he loved the Lord in an experiential, subjective manner.
He said to him, “Tend [shepherd] My sheep.”
The word “tend” means to shepherd Jesus’ people. Jesus changed the word in the second question from “feed” to “tend” or “shepherd.” To shepherd is more than just feeding. Shepherding includes protecting, herding, leading to green pastures, and feeding—among many other things.
Love for the Lord is a prerequisite for service.
The central focus on restoring someone to service for the Lord is their supreme love for Him. Every believer must come to grips with their supreme affection. The important dynamic in our relationship with the Lord is love for Him. It is possible to lose our love for Him (Re 2:4).
Sheep do not exist for the sake of sheep but for the sake of the Shepherd. Members of the church do not exist for the church; the church exists for the members. It is the task of the church to feed and nurture believers. There are both immature and mature believers. The church must feed both. We can love people without loving the Lord, but we can hardly love the Lord without loving His people.