So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?'
He said to Him, 'Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.'
He said to him, 'Feed My lambs... Tend My sheep... Feed My sheep.'
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.
I lay down My Life for the sheep.
In John 21, the resurrected Christ gave Peter three Orders to establish His church:
1) 'Feed my lambs.' New believers are lambs: spiritual babes to nourish by Word and deed. As good parents care for their children, as good shepherds care for their lambs, so good pastors care for new Christians. They receive receive gentle attention and drink 'The pure milk of the Word' (1 Peter 2:2, NKJV).**
2) 'Tend my sheep.' Mature believers are sheep: grown followers of the Great Shepherd. Through green pastures and dark valleys, good pastors tend God's saints: they lead congregations, teach new disciples, seek the lost, support the weak and welcome all strangers.
3) 'Feed my sheep.' Missionaries need a mature diet: 'Solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil' (Hebrews 5:14, NKJV). What is this diet? The Hard Word of God, served by their pastors.**
Consider: 'The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His Life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the Shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them' (John 10:10-12, NKJV).
If Satan is the scattering wolf, if Jesus is the Good Shepherd, then hirelings are false shepherds. For them, pastoring is a paycheck instead of a passion; a people-pleasing business instead of a God-pleasing outreach.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Become intimately familiar with the Life and Words of Jesus. Therein, your ability to discern both good and evil will grow, especially among self-professed Christians. Because in the world, evil is easy to spot. But in the church, it's far more cleverly disguised.
## Fellowship: His Shepherds (Part 25)
* John 21:15-17 in Its entirety: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+21%3A15-17&version=NKJV
** 'As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious' (1 Peter 2:2-3).
** I remain deeply concerned that the pure Word of God is altered in many churches. It is pasteurized and homogenized, destroying or ignoring certain Parts. It is cut and edited, softening and focusing on jeweled crosses, instead of cross-carrying.
NOTE: This series is a republished edit of a 2015 series called, 'Fellowship.' In these devotions, you may see notes to 'Actors, Models & Talent for Christ.' I have not changed this designation. Because in a greater sense, every disciple of Christ acts for Christ, models Christ and stewards His talents, from which God expects a profit.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Fellowship series.