Peter is examined by the Risen Jesus, just days after Peter had denied Jesus three times. Here Peter is questioned three times by Jesus. It is somewhat like a Confession, where Peter is reconciled to Jesus.
The vocabulary is critical to understanding this event when the Apostles were fishing in the Sea of Galilee soon after the Resurrection of Jesus.
The words in the original Greek for “love” give us a key for better understanding this conversation between Jesus and Peter. The three words in Greek are “Eros”, “Philios” and “Agape”. “Philios” is often used for a friendship, “I love you like a brother”. Jesus was asking for unconditional love, “agape”, the way Jesus loved and gave himself.
Peter was still growing and maturing spiritually. Peter responded to Jesus, “You know, Lord, that I love you like a brother. By the third question, Jesus met Peter where he was spiritually, saying, “Peter, do you love me like a brother?” We know that Jesus gave Peter the penance, “Follow me.” And Peter did. Peter was crucified upside down and decapitated in Rome under the emperor Nero.