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Feed My Sheep

Having been with the Lord for some three years, the impetuous Peter was surprised to learn that the Lord was sitting on the seashore by the Sea of Galilee. Peter, had removed all of his clothes except for his undergarments in an effort probably to be more efficient and to not unnecessarily soak his outer garments. When told by the "disciple whom Jesus loved," Peter put his "fishermen's coat" on and jumped into the sea. This was an outer garment much like the "slicker" that our American fishermen wear in foul weather.

Having let down the net at the Lord's command, they had caught a great number of fish and Peter came to shore with some of them, since the Lord had a fire there and had bid them eat breakfast with Him. Jesus was certainly aware of the often wavering faith of Peter as He had observed several months earlier having been challenged by Peter to allow him to walk on the sea without sinking. Later, Peter had also been told that he would deny the Lord three times before the morning cock crew. So, Peter's wavering faith was something that he could not hide from the Lord. Likewise, the Lord knows about our own weaknesses whether or not we realize it.

After they had eaten, Jesus looked at Peter and asked him, "Do you love me more than these other disciples?" Immediately, Peter said, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus then told him, "Feed my lambs." Immediately, Jesus asks him for a second time, "Do you love me?" Again, Peter responds, "Yes, Lord. You know that I love you." Again, Jesus told him, "Feed my sheep."

Finally, Jesus asks Peter the same question a third time. Seemingly agitated, Peter responds, "Yes, Lord, You know all things, you know that I love you." Then, Jesus commands him, "Feed my sheep." Peter, no longer sure as to how to respond, turns and sees the disciple whom Jesus loved, asked Jesus, "And, what shall this man do?"

Peter here revealed his human weakness, one that besets us all. It is the problem that inhabits too many of us; the tendency to look at others and to measure our abilities for the Lord's work, not by what the Lord has given us, but by the weaknesses or strengths of other Christians. In his letter to the Galatian churches, chapter 6, Paul reminds us that "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Thus, our measure is not to be what others can do, but what each one of us have been given the ability to do.

In 2 Cor 5:10, Paul notes that each man will be judged according to the works (or deeds) done in the (i.e., his/her) body. No, our judgment will be held to a much higher standard than the deeds of our fellow Christians. In 3 John 1:3-6, the apostle noted: "For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:"

The point can easily be made here that these brethren were "feeding the Lord's sheep." They were not only caring for one another in a material sense, they were leading them forth in their love for the word of God. They were doing so to the measure that the "sheep" were reputed to be "of a Godly sort." Some translations use the phrase: "worthy of God." That means that whatever we do for or to one another must be according to the authority given us by the Lord and it must be according to God's design (Col 3:17). In Gal 6:10, Paul tells us that we are to "...do good unto all men, especially those of the household of faith." Need I say

by Howard Justice

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