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During the events surrounding Jesus' questioning by the high priest and the other religious authorities, Peter denied that he knew Jesus three times, as had been predicted by Jesus. In shame, Peter left the scene. While Peter is named as one of the disciples who ran to the tomb after the women reported seeing Jesus outside the empty tomb (John 20:3-6), there is no further mention of Peter or his involvement with Jesus at that time.
Some time after Jesus' resurrection and initial appearances to the disciples, Peter and some of the other disciples take out their fishing boats for a night's fishing, returning to the occupations they followed before they began following Jesus. Jesus appears on the lake shore, miraculously gives them a bountiful catch, and prepares breakfast for the group.
John 21:15-19 presents the climax of the story for Simon Peter's future. Jesus questions Simon Peter's devotion three times, reflecting the three times that Peter had denied knowing Jesus. Each time, Peter responds in the affirmative. Jesus gives directions after each response, gradually increasing the extent of the responsibility being given to Peter in recognition that he has been affirmed as one of great faith and great authority for the future of Jesus' followers.
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"
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