Feed His Sheep

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

For the last couple of devotions, the Scripture readings have dealt with God miraculously feeding his people through ordinary means – namely, bread and fish.

Today’s Scripture text also talks about feeding. It also includes fish. Jesus and Peter and six other disciples were having a breakfast of roasted fish on the shore of Galilee. It is a couple of weeks after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

Up to this point, Jesus has been appearing and disappearing. He’s talked to all his disciples and has been getting them ready for when he will be leaving them by Ascension. They will then be going out into all the world to tell others the Good News about Jesus.

At this breakfast, Jesus and Peter have a heart-to-heart chat.

Three times Jesus asks Peter if he loves him. Three times! After the third time, Peter is practically insulted, certainly hurt.

Jesus doesn’t explain to Peter why he asks him three times. But it doesn’t seem hard to figure out.

A few weeks prior, Peter was in the courtyard of the home of the High Priest Caiaphas and was confronted by three different people who asked him if he knew Jesus.

They didn’t ask Peter if he loved him, only if he simply knew him.

And Peter denied knowing Jesus.

Three times!

There on the shore of Galilee, Jesus “reinstates” Peter with the words, “Feed my lambs,” “tend my sheep,” and “feed my sheep.”

Was Jesus changing Peter’s vocation from fisherman to shepherd? Was Jesus really telling Peter to get a flock of ovis aries (sheep)?

No, I don’t think so. After all, history tells us that Peter didn’t become a literal shepherd, but instead he became an Apostle whose mission for the rest of his life was to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jesus wasn’t telling Peter to become a literal shepherd. But Jesus was telling Peter to feed his flock.

Jesus’ flock would be all Christians from that moment to this very moment. Peter was to take care of these Christians by “feeding” them the Word of God.

He would preach, proclaim, and share the Word of God from the Day of Pentecost till the day he was executed by Rome.

He would continue to “feed” Jesus’ lambs through his two epistles in the Bible and through his story told and re-told countless times down through history.

But another way of looking at this is that Jesus was not telling Peter only to feed his sheep. He was telling the entire Church to do this.

Martin Luther – the 16th Century Reformer – put it this way:

“It does not follow from this passage that a peculiar superiority was given Peter. Christ tells him ‘feed’ (i.e., teach <preach> the Word <the Gospel>, or rule the Church with the Word <the Gospel>), which task Peter has in common with the other apostles” (Power and Primacy of the Pope – Refutation of Roman Arguments, quoted from Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, copyright © 2005, 2006 by Concordia Publishing House, pp 298).

This means that even though Jesus was telling Peter to feed and tend, he’s also telling us to do that.

How do we feed and tend Christ’s flock? By using the gifts that God has given us to support the Church. We also tell others about Christ by telling our story of how Christ saved us!

So, let us feed and tend Christ’s flock with all that God has given us!

Prayer

Heavenly Father, you have called your Church to witness that in Christ you have reconciled us to yourself. Grant that by your Holy Spirit we may feed and tend Christ’s sheep so that all who hear the Gospel may receive the gift of salvation; through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.

©2017 True Men Ministries

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Read past devotions at the True Man Blog here.

Contribute to True Men Ministries here to help keep this devotional going.

Listen to the True Man Podcast here.

Subscribe to In My Father’s Footsteps here.

Miracle of Ordinary Things

ICYMI this morning.

The True Man

And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?”

Matthew 15:34

Nearly every Christian – and quite a few non-Christians – have heard the Bible story “The Feeding of the 5000.”

That miracle is recorded in all four Gospels. But the miracle of “The Feeding of the 4000” is a separate miracle only recorded in Matthew and Mark.

Both miracles point us to the miraculous provision of God. One of the lessons of each miracle is that God provides us with what we need.

As I explored in the devotions “Miraculous Feeding” and “Satisfaction”, there are other miracles of God providing people with food that they need. God provided manna and quail for the People of Israel during their Wilderness Wanderings following the Exodus (Exodus 16). And God provided bread for 100 men through his prophet Elisha (2 Kings 4).

God will always provide…

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Miracle of Ordinary Things

And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?”

Matthew 15:34

Nearly every Christian – and quite a few non-Christians – have heard the Bible story “The Feeding of the 5000.”

That miracle is recorded in all four Gospels. But the miracle of “The Feeding of the 4000” is a separate miracle only recorded in Matthew and Mark.

Both miracles point us to the miraculous provision of God. One of the lessons of each miracle is that God provides us with what we need.

As I explored in the devotions “Miraculous Feeding” and “Satisfaction”, there are other miracles of God providing people with food that they need. God provided manna and quail for the People of Israel during their Wilderness Wanderings following the Exodus (Exodus 16). And God provided bread for 100 men through his prophet Elisha (2 Kings 4).

God will always provide exactly what we need at the exact right moment. But there are a couple of things to consider.

One, God is never late and seldom – if ever – early.

There are times when I have waiting for God to come through, show up, or in some way provide for me. But I was disappointed because I had my own schedule and God wasn’t interested in my schedule.

It’s not a bad thing to have a schedule, but it is important to remember that our vision is limited, while God’s is not. What we think is the right time for God to act and provide is limited to our view on things. God is not restricted in his view so he knows the exact right time to act and provide!

When I look back at all those times in my life when God has acted in my life and provided, I see that it was exactly what I needed and at the exact perfect time! God is never late and seldom – if ever – early!

Two, don’t go to a place where it will take a miracle to save you from it!

There are times when I have put myself in an impossible situation and it was only by the grace of God that I got out of it. God gave us a brain and wants us to use it! Don’t get yourself into a place where it will take a miracle to save you from it! God can do it, don’t get me wrong. But if I get into tough spots because I hadn’t let God control my life, then that isn’t what God wants for my life! He wants something better for me!

When we read about how Jesus feeds the 5000 and then the 4000, both times he uses what has already been given to provide for so many more.

With the feeding of the 4000, Jesus makes a point to ask them what the disciples have. I believe he wants them to see that it doesn’t matter how much they have but that they simply have gifts and provisions from God.

God wants to use what we have already been given and have in our possession now.

We have the ordinary things. God will take care of the miracle. And we give glory and thanksgiving to God for both!

Prayer

Heavenly Father, even as you bless your servants with various and unique gifts of the Holy Spirit, continue to grant us the grace to use them always to your honor and glory; through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.

©2017 True Men Ministries

______________________________________

Read past devotions at the True Man Blog here.

Contribute to True Men Ministries here to help keep this devotional going.

Listen to the True Man Podcast here.

Subscribe to In My Father’s Footsteps here.

Satisfaction

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.

Isaiah 55:2

Mark is, in a lot of ways, a typical teenager. He goes to school, does his homework, and participates in school sports (in his case, baseball).

But what sets Mark apart for a lot of young people his age, in this day and age, is that he works hard to make money and saves his money for what he want to buy.

And what further sets Mark apart from a lot of young people his age, in this day and age, is that he sets his sights and his goal on buying things that he can use and that will satisfy him.

For example, Mark worked hard and saved his money for a good-sized down payment on a vehicle. He had his driver’s license for about 9 months but had been saving money longer than that. He had his eyes on a particular vehicle. It wasn’t a sports car or a fast car.

Mark wanted a pick-up truck. And he wanted to get a truck for a particular reason – so that he could use it to help out other people in moving stuff and working. He also wanted a truck so he could haul all his baseball gear around to the various fields he would play or practice at.

He could have spent his money on other things, games, toys, that kind of thing. But instead, Mark put his hard work, effort, and goals into buying something that he could use and that would satisfy him.

God’s Word tells us that this is the better way to go.

In Isaiah’s prophecy, God’s Word uses the analogy of “food” or “rich food” to represent goals that will have purpose and satisfy us.

Why would anyone want to have these kinds of goals in the first place? Because this is how we’ve been created by God!

We were not made for just this life. If this life – from our cradle to our grave – was all there was, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense looking for something or doing things that have lasting significance or satisfaction.

But we have been created for more than just this life!

We were created to have a personal relationship with our Creator – God the Father Almighty!

And that is exactly what his creation had until something disastrous happened.

Satan tempted Adam and Eve to choose their own, personal satisfaction instead of being satisfied in the “rich food” of a relationship with God.

This is called “The Fall” and since then, every descendant of Adam and Eve has been infected with Original Sin. We are all conceived and born separated from God.

But we still have the longing of satisfaction encoded in our DNA by God. We long to have a relationship with God. But we no longer know how to have that relationship on our own.

Many try to find the satisfaction of that relationship in other created things. Money, goods, or other people. But all these are temporary. They will not last. Money can be here today, gone tomorrow. Goods can break or wear out. People leave or die.

There is only one thing that can satisfy the deepest longing and need in us – and that is God himself and God alone!

We know we long for something. We learn it is God. But then how to we get God?

This is the reason Jesus Christ came!

He was born a human to take our sin on himself. He lived perfectly but died with, and for, all the sins of all people of all time. The third day he rose from the grave – thus guaranteeing that we, too, will rise one day. Then forty days later Jesus ascended into heaven. He fully restored our fallen relationship with God.

He leaves us on this earth with the mission to tell others this Good News. He prepares paradise for us when we will finally leave this world and this temporary life.

We who have faith in Jesus Christ will find that feast of rich food that truly satisfies in heaven forever.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I pray that you will continue to guide and strengthen me in the true and satisfying relationship that your son died and rose to restore in me; through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.

©2017 True Men Ministries

______________________________________

Read past devotions at the True Man Blog here.

Contribute to True Men Ministries here to help keep this devotional going.

Listen to the True Man Podcast here.

Subscribe to In My Father’s Footsteps here.

Miraculous Feeding

ICYMI this morning.

The True Man

“Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left.’”

2 Kings 4:43

So many of my memories of my life revolve around food.

Each year, growing up, my parents would either host or take my brother and me to a Thanksgiving Feast. Sometimes we would host the family at our home. I remember many of those Thanksgiving where it would either snow the night before or the morning of the big Feast.

Sometimes we went to my grandparent’s home in Ingleside – an ancestral home where my grandmother spent much of her childhood in the early 20th Century. Her home began as a summer home for her parents (my great-grandparents). By the time I came along, it was a year-round home for my “Nana & Pop-Pop.” We would gather in the Dining Room with near and extended…

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