What’s My Job?
…Feed my sheep" [John 21:17]
This is love in the making. The love of God is not created - it is His nature. When we receive the life of Christ through the Holy Spirit, He unites us with God so that His love is demonstrated in us. The goal of the indwelling Holy Spirit is not just to unite us with God, but to do it in such a way that we will be one with the Father in exactly the same way Jesus is. And what kind of oneness does Jesus Christ have with the Father? He has such a oneness with the Father that He was obedient when His Father sent Him down here to be poured out for us. And He says to us, “…as my Father has sent me, even so send I you” [John 20:21].
Peter now realizes that he does love Jesus, due to the revelation that came with the Lord’s piercing question. The Lord’s next point is - “Pour yourself out. Don't testify about how much you love Me and don't talk about the wonderful revelation you have had, just ‘Feed my sheep.’ ” Jesus has some extraordinarily peculiar sheep: some that are unkempt and dirty, some that are awkward or pushy, and some that have gone astray! But it is impossible to exhaust God’s love, and it is impossible to exhaust my love if it flows from the Spirit of God within me. The love of God pays no attention to my prejudices caused by my natural individuality. If I love my Lord, I have no business being guided by natural emotions - I have to feed His sheep!
We will not be delivered or released from the job He set before us. Beware of counterfeiting the love of God by following your own natural human emotions, sympathies, or understandings. That will only serve to revile and abuse the true love of God. Amen.
The Ultimate Question
“… lovest thou me?” [John 21:17].
Peter’s response to this ultimate and piercing question is considerably different from the bold defiance he exhibited only a few days before when he declared, “…Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee!” [Matthew 26:35; also see verses 33–34]. Our natural individuality, or our natural self, boldly speaks out and declares its feelings. But only experiencing the hurt of this question of Jesus Christ can we discover the true love within our inner spiritual selves. Peter loved Jesus in the way any natural man loves a good person. Yet, that is nothing but emotional love, referred to by the Greeks as “phileo.” It may reach deeply into our natural self, but it never penetrates to the spirit of a person. True love, known by the Greeks as “agape” never simply declares itself. Jesus said, “...Whosoever shall confess me before men [that is, confesses his love by everything he does, not merely by his words], him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God” [Luke 12:8].
Unless we are experiencing the hurt of facing every deception about ourselves, we have hindered the work of the Word of God in our lives. The Word of God inflicts hurt on us more than sin ever could, because sin dulls our senses. But this question of the Lord intensifies our sensitivities to the point that this hurt produced by Jesus is the most exquisite pain conceivable. It hurts not only on the natural level, but also on the deeper spiritual level. “For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing assunder of soul and spirit …” - to the point that no deception can remain [Hebrews 4:12]. When the Lord asks us this question, it is impossible to think and respond properly, because when the Lord speaks directly to us, the pain is too intense. It causes such a tremendous hurt that any part of our life, which may be out of line with His will, can feel the pain. There is never any mistaking the pain of the Lord’s Word by His children, but the moment that pain is felt is the very moment at which God reveals His truth to us. Amen.
“Am I My Brother’s Keeper?”
“For none of us liveth to himself …” [Romans 14:7].
Has it ever dawned on you that you are responsible spiritually to God for other people? For instance, if I allow any turning away from God in my private life, everyone around me suffers. We “…sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus ” [Ephesians 2:6]. “And, whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; …” [1 Corinthians 12:26]. If you allow physical selfishness, mental carelessness, moral insensitivity, or spiritual weakness, everyone in contact with you will suffer. But you ask, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.” and God alone [2 Corinthians 3:5].
“…ye shall be witnesses unto me …” [Acts 1:8]. How many of us are willing to spend every bit of our nervous, mental, moral, and spiritual energy for Jesus Christ? That is what God means when He uses the word witness. But it takes time, so be patient with yourself. Why has God left us on the earth? Is it simply to be saved and sanctified? No, it is to be at work in service to Him. Am I willing to be broken bread and poured-out wine for Him? Am I willing to be of no value to this age or this life except for one purpose and one alone - to be used to disciple men and women to the Lord Jesus Christ. My life of service to God is the way I say “thank you” to Him for His inexpressibly wonderful salvation.
Remember, it is quite possible for God to set any of us aside if we refuse to be of service to Him - “… lest, that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” [1 Corinthians 9:27].
Rev. Dr. S. Stewart Poullard Th.D. is pastor of the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Mermentau, Louisiana. Pastor Poullard holds a Masters in Theology [Th.M.] from Andersonville Baptist Seminary, Camilla, Georgia, 1999 and a Doctorate in Theology [Th.D.] from Andersonville Baptist Seminary, 2000. New Hope’s Motto: "We Teach and Preach Christ."
© SSP Ministries, Inc. 2006; Used by permission, BlackandChristian.com