Why Did Jesus Ask Peter 3 Times "Do You Love Me?"

After He rose from the dead, Jesus Christ asked Peter 3 times if he loved Jesus.  Here are some reasons He may have done that.

After Jesus Christ was crucified and then rose from the dead, He appeared many times to His disciples. On one occasion, as recorded in the Gospel of John, Jesus asked Peter 3 different times "Do you love Me?"

Why would Jesus, who knows all things, ask Peter "Do you love Me?" 3 different times? Here are 3 possible reasons.

  1. Peter had just denied Jesus 3 times when Jesus was about to be crucified. Jesus wanted to give Peter the same number of chances to re-affirm his love for Jesus.
  2. Each time Peter answered "Yes", Jesus took the occasion to give Peter slightly different instructions. The first time Jesus said "Feed My lambs" -- provide food (probably spiritual food) for baby new believers. The second time Jesus said "Take care of My sheep" -- to care for and perhaps extend pastoral oversight over Jesus' followers. The third time Jesus said "Feed My sheep" -- provide food (probably spiritual food) for all Jesus' followers. So Jesus gave 3 similar, but different, sets of instructions each time.
  3. Jesus asked Peter if Peter loved Him, the first two times, using "agape" which is the Greek word for God's unselfish love.  Peter answered he did love Jesus using the Greek word "phileo" which is more like brotherly love. Perhaps Jesus was trying to nicely make the point to Peter that man's love is not enough; we need to love Jesus with God's love which is enduring.  

A final thought? Perhaps Jesus just wanted to emphasize the point to Peter -- for it is a conversation that Peter quite probably never forgot.