Jesus Talks with Peter
Christ's Charge to Peter
In Rubens' fine painting, the viewer follows Christ's compassionate gaze down the line of his arm to his hand, extending the symbolic key to Peter. As Peter accepts the key, he kisses Jesus' hand, sealing an unbreakable spiritual promise.
c.1616 (oil on oak panel), Rubens, Peter Paul (1577-1640) © Wallace Collection, London, UK / The Bridgeman Art Library
15When 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."
16Again 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."
17 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. 18I 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." 19Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"