AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #44
Feed My Sheep
v15 “So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.”
v16 “He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.
v17 “He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.” (John 21:15–16)
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
There are no coincidences in the Bible. This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested Himself to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.
And now, Jesus gives Peter a command three times in three ways. Is this anything significant?
Three, (shelosh , sheloshah) in the Bible, means harmony, new life, and completeness.
Three carries an extreme significance throughout Scripture in prophetic fulfillment to the nature of our prayers. As Christians, we should remember to keep an eye out for any instance we see something thrice in Scripture. It’s either emphatically pointing to the essence of something, or showing the completeness of something.
1. Jesus asks Peter (as He might ask you) “Do you love (agapao) Me?”
Jesus uses the Greek word “Agapao” which is a love based on esteem (diligo), distinct from the love that is expressed by spontaneous natural affection, emotional and unreasoning ( amo). Agapao-Love is fitly used in New Testament of Christians love of God and man. The spiritual affection which follows the direction of the will, and which, therefore, unlike that feeling which is instinctive and unreasoning, can be commended as a duty.
Almost astoundingly, Peter replies with the word “Phileo” which denotes a brotherly love. It means to approve of, to like or to treat affectionately or kindly, to welcome, befriend.
This is the case THREE TIMES. And, THREE TIMES Jesus says
(1) Tend My Lambs – Portraying the duty of a Christian teacher to promote in every way the spiritual welfare of the members of the church. In other words “feed” my Lambs.
(2) Shepherd My Sheep – This is time Jesus uses a word which indicates a sheepfold of a higher order in a higher sanctuary or a more sacred sheep pen. In other words, to supply the requisites for the soul’s need
(3) Tend My Sheep – This time Jesus repeats His second command. Repetition is emphasis.
Each time Jesus uses a more sincere and intensely personal word for LOVE and each time Peter replies with a Brotherly LOVE. Although a good thing, Brotherly Love alone will not sustain you through times of trial and testing.
The Bible tells us, “A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
We, as people, have divided scriptures into books and verses. It is our way. We, as people, have divided Jesus’ Church into clergy and laity. It is out way. We, as people, have divided our loyalty to Jesus into Agape-Love and Phileo-Love. It is our way. “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” This is His Way.
Now, it is your turn:
HOW MUST YOU DO IT?
HOW MUST YOU TEACH IT?
Let’s draw near to God and He will draw near to us.
Your Brother and Friend,
“Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.”