Feed my Sheep

compassion2

I want to talk about the relationship between how I love God, and how I love people. Jesus says quite plainly that if I claim to love God, then I must also love other people. Indeed, John says that if I claim to love God, but fail to love people, I am a liar! [1]

Jesus had just been crucified, but had come back from the dead and spent time with his disciples. He asked Simon Peter a question 3 times, “Do you love me”, and 3 times Jesus followed it up with the same injunction to Peter.

  • Feed my lambs
  • Take care of my sheep
  • Feed my sheep

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep“. (John 21:15-17 NIV)

Love the ones that I love

Many preachers have talked about the meanings of the word ‘love’ and Peter’s response to Jesus. But I want, quite simply, to expand on the connection between loving God and loving the people whom God loves. The reason we can love God in the first place is because he loves us. He loves every single person who has ever lived, and so responding to God’s love must mean that we love other people.

There is a link between loving God, and loving people. Jesus said that the first commandment was that we should love God. But there is a second commandment, which is to love other people as we love ourselves. [2] This second commandment is not a separate statement, but follows on from the first.

“Love God, and love all those he created and loves”.


Notes

Note [1]

We love each other because he loved us first.

If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? (I John 4:19-20 NLT) Back

Note [2]

Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

This is the first and greatest commandment.

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22 37-40 NIV) Back


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Comments

  1. Great post George. And, to me taking care of my sheep means taking care of their food source, the land.

    Like

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