…When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs." He then said to him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, "Do you love me?" and he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." (Jesus) said to him, "Feed my sheep…
And when he had said this, he said to him, "Follow me." (Jn 21:1-19)
One of the most beautiful conversations that we have in the whole Bible, we can say. Peter is given a new mission. But Jesus questions him three times regarding his love for Jesus before giving him the mission. Does Jesus want to remind him of the three times when Peter denied him? May be. It is also said that when a thing is reminded three times, it is only to give importance to the things talked about. So the mission given is important in the sight of Jesus.
All the three times, the duty of Peter as a shepherd is insisted. He has to feed the sheep, tend the sheep and care for them. Here, Jesus shares his own personal ministry, as a shepherd to the people, with Peter. To have a share in the mission of Jesus is the duty of every disciple, in fact every believer.
Whether one has denied the Lord, or sinned against is not the matter for giving a new mission. Love for Jesus is the only requisite for a mission. Forgiveness is totally a gift of God. New mission is a sign having been forgiven.
If there is no love then there is no following. To be a follower one has to love Jesus. That is loving a person (Jesus) is important. So,
Love is the basis for following,
Love is the basis for new mission and
Love is the basis for forgiveness,