(Syn, xxv), is that, in the spiritual care of God's children, the 'feeding' of the flock from the Word of God is the constant and regular necessity; it is to have the foremost place. The tending (which includes this) consists of other acts, of discipline, authority, restoration, material assistance of individuals, but they are incidental in comparison with the 'feeding.'
So, Jesus urges Peter to feed the newborn lambs, but to continue feeding them and taking care of them through adulthood. Paul urges Timothy to do this in 2 Timothy 4:2, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." He writes to the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 5:14
"Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men."
The Effect That the Triple Confession Had on Peter
Coffman includes the following note in his comments on this passage:
The Gospel is infinitely richer for this triple confession of Peter's love of Jesus. It explains why Peter was at his usual place in the lead on Pentecost; and it also makes it impossible to assert (intelligently) that this Gospel was written to downgrade Peter, as some have affirmed. The image of Peter that emerges in John is even higher than that in the synoptics*.
Peter learned the reason for Jesus' three-fold question! It was to make him a better man. He was a good man, but slipped when Jesus was arrested and tried, and denied him. Now he is restored to that position and advanced.
Unpleasant events, even persecution for our service to Jesus, has that effect on us. James writes, James 1:2-3:
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
He continues in James 1:12:
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Peter was a faithful Apostle of Jesus Christ. Jesus once told him after he confessed, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt 16:16), "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matt 16:19). But, in a moment of weakness, he denied Jesus three times. After the resurrection, Jesus asked him three times, "Do you love me?" and he confessed three times, "I love you." Peter was grieved at Jesus' persistent questions, but became a better man as a result. Just a few days later, he preached the first gospel sermon upon which three thousand souls repented and turned to Jesus (Acts 2:1-41). Peter was after this a leader in the church and wrote two Epistles that bear his name (1 and 2 Peter).
You, too, can become a better person, even if you have fallen from a previous position of faith and service. But, Jesus would ask of you, as he did of Peter, "Do you love me?"
*. Note: The word, synoptics refers to what are known as the "Synoptic Gospels." James Hastings writes: In a word, the first three Gospels give the same general survey, the same ‘synopsis,’ and are therefore called the ‘Synoptic Gospels,’ and their writers the ‘Synoptists.’ But further, they agree very closely in words, arrangement of sentences, and in many other details.↩