…lovest thou me?…Feed my lambs/sheep… – John 21:15,16,17
Jesus had risen from the dead and now had shone himself to the apostles. As some of the apostles were fishing one day, they noticed that Jesus stood on the shore. Peter jumped in the water and swam ashore while the others rowed to shore with a hoard of fish they had just caught resulting from another of Jesus’ miracles. Once they had eaten some fish and bread that Jesus cooked, they sat down to talk. Jesus addressed Peter and asked him if he loved (agape) Jesus. When Peter replied that he loved (phileo) Him, Jesus replied, Feed my lambs. Then Jesus repeated the same question twice more, and Peter responded the same. Each of these times Jesus said, Feed my sheep. At this point Jesus told Peter to follow Him and restored Peter to the fold of the apostles.
I’ve noticed twice in reading the book of John that Jesus says to Peter and the apostles the first time and to Peter alone the second time, If you love me (lovest thou me),…and then He proceeded to tell them/Peter how to love Him – through doing something. To the apostles (and us) it is keep My commandments. To Peter (and me today) it is feed my sheep. Again, elsewhere in John, we read that the world knows that we are Messiah’s disciples by the fact that we love one another.
I have known Jesus since I was a child, but along the way I denied Jesus not in word but totally in deed. I had strayed from the faith and lived the sinner’s life for many years. Then, one day God wooed me back to Himself and opened my eyes to the eternal fate that awaited me if I chose to continue on the broad path. I decided to go through the narrow gate and get back on the narrow path that leads to life.
No one can enter that gate to the sheepfold unless one comes through Jesus. In that fold are the believers, and they need tending to daily. They need leadership to guide them and keep them safe. Ultimately Jesus is that Great Shepherd who tends the flock as a flock universal, but He entrusts men to oversee those flocks or to teach the local flock the things they need to be strong in Messiah and secure in Messiah.
When I was a pre-teen, God called me into ministry as an evangelist. I never took it to heart much after that because I began to distrust Him because of my pride and sin, yes even at age 13 and on. People spoke over me all the wonderful and great things God would do through me, but I ran from it hard. Now that I am in my early 40s, God has gotten me back on His track and commissioned me as His servant.
At times I thought that I’d be a missionary (not that I won’t ever be) or possibly a pastor, but God has shown me that my work is in equipping saints to be His witness to the lost. My work is on the streets, on the highways, and in the byways. Being a minister (servant) is a full-time commitment, but it is not my occupation. Like Paul, I will preach the Word to the lost and the saved, but I will draw my provision from the Lord.
Father, I come to You in the name of Your Son, Jesus, to make my petitions and give praise to You. My petition is that I have an opportunity to daily be Your witness to someone who is lost. I also approach You concerning ministry opportunities wherever You would have me teach or preach, including in my own home. I ask for greater unity between my spouse and me with cords of love that cannot be broken. My wife is a HUGE part of this endeavor and needs to feel a part of it. I pray for a healing miracle in her body that she would be physically able to travel and minister along side me in service to You in doing kingdom work. You put us together as a team, and there is no I in team. The team consists of You, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the angels, my wife and me. Thank You for even considering us to be a weapon in Your arsenal as well as workers in Your harvest. Amen.