David H Robinson wrote:A very late follow-on question, but prompted by my looking once again at that breakfast on the seashore. I wonder myself whether the question of what upset Peter finds a possible solution in the τὸ τρίτον of ἐλυπήθη ὁ Πέτρος ὅτι εἶπεν αὐτῷ τὸ τρίτον• φιλεῖς με; where it seems to me that the sense is that at the third challenge, Jesus used a different verb, rather than that Peter was challenged 'three times' or 'for a third time'. I guess I might be helped by comparing other uses of definite article + ordinal, but I confess I'm not sure how to make such a search.
Sorry for being so late in the game, but there is another angle to this. Peter has twice used "φιλω" in telling Jesus he loves Him. Why would Jesus' diction
be the source of his disturbance, when he was using the same diction as Peter himself?
And yet another angle: Peter is excitable and always responds to Christ with enormous enthusiasm. Jesus tells Peter "I go to my death and you will all deny me" and Peter immediately cries that he will also die, rather than deny Him. Jesus walks over the water towards the boat and Peter jumps over the side! It simply is not in Peter's personality to understate a response. If there were a difference in the inherent meaning of "ἀγαπάω" and "φιλέω", Peter would be using the more powerful verb. He would never say, "Yes, I love you but not quite as deeply as you are asking."
And a third: Jesus responds to Peter's first two answers by giving him a responsibility. "Feed my lambs" and "tend my sheep" are inconsistent with a response from Peter that means "I love you but not in a deep spiritual or divine sense, as you asked, but only with a brotherly, affectionate kind of love."