(John 21: 15-19 KJV)
The ultimate responsibility of a shepherd is to feed and keep the flock.
Can we imagine a shepherd taking the flock to far away pasture, returning fat and fresh. When asked about the sheep he took for pasturing, he replies “I can’t find them”. If he is not only saying this to other people but particularly to the owner of the flock. “I can’t find them”, this will certainly ring echoes in the ears of the owner. Maybe he will be erupting with the questions like, “what happened? Did they walk away? Run away? Were they killed before your very eyes and you are returning fat?”
When Israelites were sinning and frolicking before the god the hand of Aaron has made, God interrupted Moses, told him to go down and look at what his people were doing. Moses was actually before the Lord and not with the Israelites. So, why would the Lord direct this to Him? Whatever our answers are maybe the reason why the Lord will also ask us about his sheep welfare.
Aaron as a shepherd created another god for God’s sheep. We as the shepherd to the sheep, are we creating another god for them? Are we making another god for the flock of God? Maybe a god made with money, a pleasure seeking god or a compromising one that operates within the standard of human being. Unlike David that said while he was tending his father’s sheep, the lion and bear came but he grabbed and killed them, Aaron gave Israelites up to the enemies who came upon them in the disguise of their desire.
Being bewildered by this challenge, we might begin to ask “…ehm, ehm but I am not with them in their houses, I don’t know what they are doing at their working places. I do not even know where they are. Lord, here I am before you!” But I hear the owner of the sheep asking Simon the son of Jonah, “do you love me?” Now, the Lord is not asking Simon the son of Jonas but you and me. “My flock worth my life, I gave it for them. My flock worth my supremacy, I set it aside to be with them. And my sheep worth my care, then I put you in charge to tend and care for them. I also sought you out when you were lost. You denied me but I took you back. Whatever you need to do for them, I have done more for you. If you love me, you will feed my sheep.”
15 So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me more than these? He said unto him, Yea, Lord; you know that I love you. He said unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He said to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me? He said unto him, Yea, Lord; you know that I love you. He said unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He said unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Do you love me? And he said unto him, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. Jesus said unto him, Feed my sheep.
Feed the flock of the Lord with the undiluted word of God. Feed them with the undiluted living water from the source.
We would take note that the first request says “feed my lambs”.
Our Lord is specifically pointing to the need to feed the (lambs) little in faith: the little children, new converts and those who are weak in faith. We should not decide to turn our focus to the mature ones and leave out the “lambs”. We should not just choose to be with few “disciples”.
The “feed” in the first and the third requests our Lord as directed to Peter was rendered in greek as bosko and the “feed” in the second request is rendered as poimaino in greek. The usage of the greek word bosko points to the feeding of the sheep in terms of nourishment but the usage of the greek word poimaino signifies the feeding of the sheep in terms of guidance. However, we should shepherd Father’s flock both in nourishing them in the undiluted word of God and guiding them in the truth of God.
In verse 18, the Lord says,
18 Verily, verily, I say unto you, When you were young, you dressed yourself, and walked where you would: but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall dress you, and carry you where you would not.
If we have not being chosen as shepherd, we will do our own will about ourselves but as chosen shepherd, what we are sold to is THE FATHER’S WILL.
Then, how do we do this?
Our Lord answered this in verse 19 by saying “…follow me”.
This means when issues arise such that you do not know what to do about the flock, instead of making your thought or other people’s advice superior, go to Christ and ask Him what to do. Tell Him “Lord this is concerning Your sheep, I don’t know what to do, please help me, what can I do?” Experience, thought, committee’s decision or advice may be greatly helpful but not without taking it to the owner of the flock.
Jesus has made us the shepherd of His sheep but let us keep praying that we might follow His leading dearly as the good and chief Shepherd.
May we be the faithful servants in Jesus name.