When they had finished breakfast, Yeshua said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love you.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs!”
He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Take care of My sheep!”
He said to him a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”
Peter was grieved because He said to him for a third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You!”
Yeshua said to him, “Feed My sheep!”
This passage is thought to be Yeshua’s vocalized forgiveness of Peter, who previously denied Yeshua three times. This passage is the last time Yeshua appears to the disciples, and it is from this passage onwards that Peter is radically on fire for God, often acting as spokesperson for the apostles.
It strikes me as extremely powerful and loving for Yeshua to mandate Peter to take care of his sheep as a part of his forgiveness. Yes, Yeshua is saying, “If you love me, then SHOW it!” affirming Aaron’s previous commentary. But–Yeshua is also saying, “I trust you to care for my sheep.” Peter messed up in a pretty serious way, something that we can all relate to. He probably felt embarrassed and inadequate. But Yeshua didn’t care–all that mattered was that Peter loved him. And as Yeshua tells Peter, caring for our community, is the direct responsive act of our love for HaShem.