When they had finished eating, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love Me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he answered, “You know I love You.” Jesus replied, “Feed My lambs.” Jesus asked a second time, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?” “Yes, Lord,” he answered, “You know I love You.” Jesus told him, “Shepherd My sheep.” Jesus asked a third time, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was deeply hurt that Jesus had asked him a third time, “Do you love Me?” “Lord, You know all things,” he replied. “You know I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.- John 21:15-17 ESV
Yahweh is the OMNI GOD. Omniscient- all Knowing, Omnipotent-all Powerful, and Omnipresent- All places at all times. Might I suggest Jehovah is also Omni purposive- All Purposeful! Only God is All knowing, the rest of us are subject to missing the mark, to one degree or another. Theologically we are all OFF, at-least a little, some are WAY OFF. The only way to understand God and His Son, our Savior, Jesus, is through the study of HIS WORD. Studying, meditating, and proper Hermeneutics – the study of the general principles of biblical interpretation, leads to uncovering hidden meaning in Scripture. About the Word of God, it is written: For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) So what does today’s scripture equip us for? What does the Word that we highlighted today have for us on this journey of Knowing God and making Him known? Might I suggest that Jesus asked the same question 3 times and each time responded with an answer. Let us consider what our Lord wanted to convey to us.
Leader, in today’s scripture each time Jesus started by questioning if Peter loved Him. Then…do this. Love is a verb. For God so loved the world…He did something about it! (See John 3:16) Love is not a feeling, it is not SEX, it is not something we FALL INTO. It is a decision, a commitment, and it is ACTIVE, it is a VERB! As James said, “Faith without Works is dead”. (See James 2:17) Jesus, and His half-brother James, call for action to accompany our faith; giving meaning and purpose for our Christian lives. After confirming Peter’s love, each time he attaches a conditional statement to that LOVE. 1- feed my lambs, 2-tend\shepherd my sheep, 3- Feed my sheep. The first command is to feed His Lambs. Why, because a lamb is a young sheep that has not yet reached adulthood. God is telling us to take care of the NEW IN CHRIST. When Jesus tells us to FEED, might I suggest 3 ways we feed: 1- The Word of God. 2- Provide the resources they need to sustain life on this planet as they learn of God and how to walk with Him. 3- Encourage, build up, exhort, Teach. This might be what one would call TEND or SHEPHERD the sheep. We must remember that Jesus is the BREAD OF LIFE! Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. This is also how God taught the Jews to trust in Him by providing sustenance in the desert. Hear the Word of the Lord; “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)
Conduit, we feed God’s sheep through the sharing, teaching and exposition of the Word of God. We also feed God’s children through our temporal resources. It is written: By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. – (1 John 3:16-18) This is why we are CONDUITS, we are PASS-THROUGH agents of God. We are blessed to be a blessing to others. God loves a cheerful giver, so give until it hurts. When you have a GOS (God Operating System) then you know everything you have is from Him, it is His, so it is easy to give it to others. Live by the Father’s motto: See a Need, meet a need! The Third way we FEED people is by building them up, exhorting them, teaching them, walking with them- this could also be called TENDING or SHEPHERDING. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 exhorts us to , Encourage one another and build one another up! To “feed my sheep” can be translated “to give food” but the word used implies more than just physically feeding others. The text is pointing to Peter to take on the role of a shepherd, who would guide, watch, and defend the sheep as well as feed them. It is written: Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:23-25) Aristotle and the Apostle Paul both exhort us to live an examined life. Paul said, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Corinthians 13:5) CONDUIT, how fed are Jehovahs Sheep that Yahweh puts under your shepherding? Is your flock growing, or is the herd thinning, or dying off from malnutrition? If I were Paul I would ask you, “Do you love Jesus? Then, I would say, “FEED HIS SHEEP!”