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, “Feed my lambs.” John 21:15 ESV
Do you love Jesus, dear one?
Our opening scripture reveals what Jesus said should be evidence of your love for Him. Lovers of Jesus feed His sheep.
Jesus pressed the point with Peter, repeatedly asking him the same question.
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 everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” John 21:17
God never wastes words.
Three times Jesus connected loving Him with caring for His sheep—particularly with feeding them. And when God repeats Himself, He draws our attention to the importance of His message. He wants us to understand this vital truth: We must feed and tend His sheep.
Ezekiel 34 describes what unfed sheep look like.
Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. Verses 2-5
Weak. Sick. Injured. Strayed. Lost. Scattered. Devoured.
My heart burns as I consider those words, dear one. They reflect what my own eyes see. Those words describe today’s church.
What has happened that the people of God have become so down trodden?
Most feel weak and overtaken by life’s circumstances. Illness and cancers ravage them. Wounds fester unhealed, leaving a legacy of bitterness, pain, and division. Our adversary prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
And he succeeds. Regularly.
And God’s Word says those things result when sheep aren’t properly fed.
So what are we, the sheep, supposed to feed on that makes us strong, healthy, whole, and united?
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27
Sheep, dear one, are supposed to hear Jesus’ words. And then follow them.
But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4The church starves on a famine of God’s words. Click To Tweet
We’ve grabbed hold of a few of them, but most we reject or ignore. Instead of aligning our lives with God’s Word, we allow the world’s voice to dictate our beliefs. We hardly know the God we profess to follow. And we ignore His Spirit’s gentle promptings to return to Him. Instead we trust the desires of our flesh while crying out for God’s blessing.
And we get angry when we don’t receive it.
Jesus doesn’t want your words, beloved. He wants you to feed on His.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-3
Blessing flows when people delight in the Word of God.
It’s time we return, dear one. God calls us to seek it like treasure, and He promises to give us understanding. When we choose to let God cleanse us from sin and align ourselves with His Word, something miraculous happens.
And they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the Lord; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.” Ezekiel 36:35-36
Can you imagine it? People looking upon Christ’s church and recognizing that it has become like the Garden of Eden—beautiful, fruitful, and teeming with life?
God spoke that promise in a prophesy of the new covenant He would make through His Son. Eden awaits the people of God when through the power of the Spirit we return to what Adam rejected: living our lives in agreement with God’s Word.
“I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.” Ezekiel 36:36