After the resurrection of Christ, during His third appearance to the disciples He spoke with Peter about tending to those who would become Christians.

Therefore, when they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon of Jonah, do you love Me more than these? – John 21:15

Peter, along with some of the other disciples, went back to their fishing business after Christ’s death. However, Christ did not stay in the grave, for He was righteous and therefore God raised Him three days later, just as the Scripture stated. As they come to this realization, Jesus visits them multiple times, showing undeniable proof that He was raised. However, it was not time for the Kingdom to come in, now was the time of Grace. When the disciples realize the reality of what happened they begin to spread the word of the resurrected Christ. Peter, who had denied Christ because Satan persuaded him to be a coward, of which Peter was not, needed to be restored, so Jesus specifically speaks to him about caring for other saints.

In response to Jesus asking Peter if he loved Him more than fish, Peter replies, “he said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, you intuitively know that I am fond of you.’” Jesus then instructed him to feed His lambs. This word used for lamb is actually one specifically used of those who are prepared for slaughter. As, unknown to the disciples at this time, persecution was going to come upon the Church because they were speaking the truth.

Jesus then asks Peter again if he loves him.

He said to him again a second time, “Simon of Jonah, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord you intuitively know that I am fond of you.” He said to him, “Shepherd My flock.” – John 21:16

Later in Peter’s life we see that he followed Jesus’ instructions and was a pastor.

The elders, who are among you, I encourage, the elder and witness of the suffering of Christ and the partaker of the about to be revealed proper opinion (glory), shepherd the flock of God among you, being overseers (bishops) not under compulsion, but voluntarily, not greedy, but willingly, not as lording over the ones entrusted, but becoming an example of the flock – 1 Peter 5:1-3

Then Jesus said it again a third time.

He said to him the third time, “Simon of Jonah, Are you fond of Me?”. Peter was grieved that He said to him the third [time], “Are you fond of Me?” And said to Him, “Lord, you intuitively know all things. You experientially know that I am fond of you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” – John 21:17

Jesus was asking if Peter loved Him, Peter responded with his fondness for Him. It was not until the third time that he was asked that it grieved him, not because Jesus asked a third time, but because He asked Peter if he was fond of Him. Each time prior Jesus had asked if Peter loved Him, so the change in quality of love is what grieved Peter.

This is actually a very good question. Are we loving God? Are we willing to sacrifice for the benefit of other saints, or are we just fond of God and really want to take care of ourselves? We can learn from Jesus’ questions to Peter and examine ourselves. Are we only fond of God, or are we truly loving Him? For it is by loving the saints (fellow Christians) that we truly show our love for God.

If perhaps someone says, “Love the God” and is indifferent to his brother, he is a liar. For the one not loving his brother whom he can see, how does he have the ability to love the God Whom he has never seen? And this commandment we have from Him, in order that the one loving the God also loves his brother. – 1 John 4:20-21