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Archive for July 10th, 2012

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In the last of the book of John, there is this picture that I can see so clearly in my mind. I have been reminded of it recently and have been studying the scripture. Here goes:

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

John 21 (NIV)

Peter was correct. Jesus did know the answer but in my opinion it was Peter who was unsure. It is said that Jesus emphasized the love Peter had for Jesus three times because Peter denied Christ three times. I can guess that this is correct–it makes sense, but what about the manner in which Jesus instructed Peter?

Some say that “Feed my lambs” refers to young children and new believers—the first ones to know Jesus. And the second instance which is sometimes referred to as “Tend my sheep” is taking care of all believers—think of a shepherd who protects his flock. Then the last reference is Jesus telling Peter to feed the older, more mature believers who would comprise the rest of the flock. This is one of several interpretations, but some take this as a literal translation of feeding, providing food to the ones in need. And, then, many believe this is the reference of pastoring the churched, period, but is only speaking to the leader of a church.

Number one, I believe Feed My Sheep is all about service and not just by the pastor. Yes, the Gospel is be a big part of it, but when you see this scripture, the descriptors in Acts, Romans, James, and more, service to others rings out to me. And, this part of John reminds me of the parable of the Sheep and Goats in Matthew…

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. ”

Matthew 25 (NIV)

The feeding of the sheep… As believers, we are all called to Feed the Sheep–we are all called to provide service for others. And, by the way, the goats don’t get a very good shake in this do you think? Being a sheep is rewarded. Oh, to be a sheep…a seemingly lowly animal that provides years of clothing. Hmmm… It turns out that lowly animal is essential in more than one way.

Feed My Sheep… How we answer this call is most important.

Have a great day and Happy Gardening!

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