This was now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples after He had been raised from the dead.
Then when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You. He said to him, Feed My lambs.
The Lord was here restoring Peter’s love toward Him. Peter did have a heart to love the Lord, but he was too confident of his own strength, his natural strength. His love for the Lord was precious, but his natural strength had to be denied and dealt with. The Lord allowed him to utterly fail by denying Him to His face three times (18:17, 25, 27) so that his natural strength and his self-confidence might be dealt with. Furthermore, Peter had just taken the lead in backsliding from the Lord’s call. His natural confidence in his love toward the Lord must also have been dealt with by this failure. Since he might have been somewhat disappointed, the Lord came to restore his love toward Him, to charge him with the shepherding of His church, and to prepare him for his martyrdom, so that he would not follow Him with any confidence in his natural strength.