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Feed My Sheep – Part One

“Feed My sheep”
John 21:16

The Call of Jesus to Peter… “Feed My sheep” was preceded by these piercing questions:

“Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (agapaō)
thou Me more than these?”
John 21:15

“Simon, son of Jonah,
do you love (agapaō) Me?”
John 21:16

Peter in his brokenness could only reply:

“Yes, Lord; you know
that I love
(phileō) you.”
John 21:16

The love of which Jesus spoke (agapaō) was far deeper and more encompassing than what Peter could now bring himself to assert (phileō). Only a few days earlier, the boisterous Peter had declared his willingness to give up his life for the sake of Jesus. He was now humbled and broken in the recognition of his own failure.

Continuing His examination of Peter, Jesus spoke a third time:

“Simon son of Jonah,
do you love (phileō) Me?
John 21:17

This third time Jesus reduces His question to Peter’s previous response. Jesus ever seeks to show us the truth of ourselves that He may bring us to the truth of Himself.

“Peter was grieved
that He said to him a third time,
Do you love (phileō) Me?
John 21:17

Having questioned Peter in this intimate and penetrating conversation Jesus remained undeterred in His Call for Peter to “Feed My sheep”. No individual can be properly equipped to “Feed His sheep” if they have not been broken by their inability to walk with Him by their own strength and might. Man’s bravado will never touch the wisdom required to minister His grace to another. No amount of bible school, reading of books, or attending conferences will prepare a life for the Call of God.

The prophetic word from Simeon to Mary concerning Jesus was:

“This child is set
for the fall and rising again of many”
Luke 2:34

The processing of the Christ in each of His own whom He has called is defined by “the fall and rising”. We must go down into the waters of baptism and identification if we would apprehend the power of His truth and grace arising within our hearts.

“Before honour is humility”
Proverbs 18:12

His work in us becoming sons sets before us the rigors of discipleship.

“For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.”
2 Corinthians 4:12-13

We must catch here the language of the Spirit of God: “for we who live”. Those who are truly alive in Christ are ever conscious of His workings in them. The resurrection Life of Jesus will be evident in those who are following Him; resurrection Life requires death to be manifested.

“Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”
2 Corinthians 4:10

Let us measure our walk by the manifestation of His life rather than a knowledge about that life. He came, and more importantly, IS come, to manifest His Life through those who yield themselves to the disciplines and piercings required so that He may be seen.

“By this my Father is glorified,
that you bear much fruit

and so prove to be my disciples”
John 15:8 (ESV)

We must see the vital connection between discipleship and fruit. To walk in our own strength, our own wisdom, and our way of doing things, will leave us empty and barren. Discipleship is the path to a fruitful life: “So prove to be my disciples”.

swirl calli 3 generated crop

“God is looking for broken men who have judged themselves in the light of the cross of Christ. When He wants anything done, He takes up men who have come to the end of themselves, whose confidence is not in themselves, but in God.”
– Harry Ironside

“Before God could bring me to this place
He has broken me a thousand times.”
Smith Wigglesworth

See Related Post: Shepherd My Sheep

(continued in Part Two)

Brian Troxel


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