Summary: Why Jesus must asked Peter 3 times, just for the same question. It may not make sense to some of us...
15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
"Too many people miss a quotable quote that is spoken to them because they are too busy thinking of what they are going to say next instead of listening to what others have to say."
-- Jim Armstrong
Some people ever played this kind of game. “Simon says” game teaches us how we must very carefully listen to the command of “Simon”, of what he says and of what he doesn’t say.
Believe it or not, Jesus played this kind of game with someone named Simon son of Jonah, AKA Peter. Though this happened almost 2000 years ago, I believe, Jesus still playing this “game” ‘till now. The big lesson here is, Jesus listened carefully to what “Simon says”, but in the same time He asked Simon Peter to do the same thing.
Many people believed that Jesus asked the same question 3 times, because He wanted to “redeem” Peter’s denial to Him. That’s not true! Redemption comes from the blood of Jesus, by our faith to Christ, because of His grace to us; there is no other way! Don’t be fool!
Jesus asked Peter 3 times, because, Jesus listened to what Peter said, but, Peter didn’t listen to what Jesus says!
The first question:
“Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” The word “love”, is using the word “agapao” in Greek. “Agapao” means: to be fond of, to love dearly of things to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing”
The first answer:
“Yea, Lord; You know that I love thee” The word “love”, is used “phileo” in Greek. “Phileo” means: to love to approve of to like sanction to treat affectionately or kindly, to welcome, befriend to show signs of love to kiss to be fond of doing be wont, use to do.”
Jesus asked Simon, does he “agapao” (love Jesus dearly, love Jesus more than things or people)? But Peter answered Jesus’ question with “phileo” (love as a friend). For Jesus, I believe, that was not the answer. So He began to ask the SAME QUESTION for the second time. Jesus was asking if we loved Him more than anything, to be our ALL IN ALL. Not just to make Him as a friend.
The second question and the second answer, almost the same with the first question and answer.
The third question:
“Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” Now, the word “lovest”, is using the word “phileo”. So this question will be like this, “Simon, son of Jonas, do I really [just] a friend to you?”
The third answer:
“Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love (phileo) thee.” Or, “Lord, You can see all things; You know from the deep of my heart (ginosko), with a perfect knowledge, that I am your friend.”
Friends, the problem why Jesus asked Simon for 3 times, because He wanted Simon to asked the proper question He asked. Jesus asked for the “agapao” love, while Peter keep answered that his love is “phileo” love.
What is “agapao” love?
1. Agapao love is God’s kind of love
Jesus wants us to love Him in the same manner with His love to us. If His love is unchanging love, so our love to Him must be unchanging love too, if His love is unconditional love, so our love to Him must be unconditional love too.
2. Agapao love cannot be shown in physical work.
Compare: Rev. 2:2 with 1 Thess 1:3
Rev. 2:2, “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.”