Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 46 : Feed My Sheep | Day 316

Feed God's Sheep!

A number of the disciples had been fishing all night, but at daybreak, their nets were still empty. Discouraged, they headed toward shore when a man called out to them, "Have you caught anything?" They replied, "No," and the man told them to cast their net on the other side of the boat. Within moments, the net was full of fish--to the point of breaking! (See John 21:3-6.)

The Lord, Who was standing on the shore, had given this instruction. When the disciples recognized Jesus, they quickly came ashore and had breakfast together. After the meal, Jesus turned to Peter and asked a series of very important questions:

Command Forty-Six: “Simon ... lovest thou me more than these? ... Feed my lambs. ... Lovest thou me? ... Feed my sheep. ... Lovest thou me? ... Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17).

Greater understanding of this passage can be gained by looking at the Greek words that were used. For instance, the word love that Jesus used in His first two questions to Peter was the Greek word agapao. The third time that Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, He used the word phileo. Peter answered each question with these words: "I love [phileo] thee."

The word agapao means "to esteem, love." It is a deliberate choice of the will as a matter of principle or duty and implies love for the sake of meeting another's needs. It is the type of love that God shows us, and that we are to show to Him and others. The meaning of phileo includes "having affection for someone, to befriend." It is usually a relationship that is based on mutual interests. Peter was grieved when Jesus asked him, "Lovest [phileo] thou me?"

In the three instructions Jesus gave to Peter, He used two different words that are translated as feed. "Feed [bosko] my lambs. ... Feed [poimaino] my sheep. ... Feed [bosko] my sheep." The Greek word bosko simply means "to provide food," while the Greek word poimaino has a much broader range of meaning. It involves all of a shepherd's responsibilities, such as training, protecting, and leading, in addition to feeding. Additionally, Jesus told Peter to care for both lambs and sheep. Each has unique needs and requires different levels of care in their feeding.

The word my in this command is also significant. The sheep Christ asked Peter to feed were not Peter's sheep, but God's. In I Peter 5:2, Peter emphasized God's ownership to fellow elders when he wrote: “Feed [poimaino] the flock of God which is among you.”

In this command, Jesus charged Peter, as a spiritual leader in the Church, with the responsibility to feed and tend God's lambs and sheep--to help new believers grow into maturity and to continue tending and feeding them once they become mature. This responsibility would also apply to anyone in a God-given position of leadership, including fathers, who are to be the spiritual leaders in their homes.

When a father hears this command, he should not picture sheep far away; he should picture the faces of his own children.

Let's purpose now to demonstrate our love for the Lord by adopting His interests as our own and by learning the skills necessary to feed His sheep. These skills are revealed as we consider how Jesus fed His sheep when He was with them on earth.

“Simon ... lovest thou me more than these? ... Feed my lambs. ... Lovest thou me? ... Feed my sheep. ... Lovest thou me? ... Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17).

Daily Success
Like Twitter Pinterest GooglePlus LinkedIn Forward

Online Resources for Command 46 »

Make sure your Daily Success e-mails always go straight to your inbox by adding dailysuccess@iblp.org to your address book.

You are receiving this e-mail because you are enrolled in Daily Success, a ministry of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP). E-mail addresses are never sold or given out to third parties. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Copyright © 2005–2013, Institute in Basic Life Principles. All Rights Reserved.
The Institute in Basic Life Principles is located at 707 West Ogden Ave., Hinsdale, IL 60521.
Contributing writer: Bill Gothard