“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” – Jeremiah 29:11 KJV
“…an expected end” This is saying that God has your whole life mapped out before Him all the way to the end… I think of the verses in John 21, when Jesus is talking with Peter after He was Resurrected from the grave. He was asking Peter if He loved Him, 3 times of course to which Peter broke down and wept knowing that he had previously denied Christ 3 times before the cross. Jesus was preparing him to now go all the way!! Full commitment that would eventually cost his life. He had a job to do… to continue the work that Christ had begun. Jesus was now inquiring how much he loved Him, because he wanted full commitment for the job that Peter was about to do… we are well aware of this because of Jesus’s response “Feed my sheep” “feed my lambs”. Christ knowing he was about to ascend to the Father, was preparing Peter to take his place as shepherd or first pastor ( or Pasturer) of the flock. He needed Peter to care for His flock. I simply love this story the Gospel of John is my absolute favorite Gospel account because of the DEEP LOVE IT SHOWS OF OUR LORD FOR HIS REDEEMED! It really shows the personal relationship with Christ unique to the others. Here in this chapter I see this whole story end in such a beautiful full circle way. Look at it:
“Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.” – John 21:5-15
I remember how that this was how it all began for Peter: Jesus meets Peter as He’s fishing and calles unto him “Follow Me“. I would imagine that this occurred to Peter as well, after he realized it was the Lord.
It’s as if in a beautiful way, Christ is saying “Hey I called you to follow me it’s not over yet; you’re not going back fishing, I called you to catch me men, not fish.” Jesus wanted Peter to know that the work wasn’t over yet. There was still much more ahead of him, in fact, it had all really just begun. So Jesus begins this really deep intimate conversation with Peter…
“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.” – John 21:15-19
You can begin to see now how JESUS is making him reflect upon his own commitment to Him… from the very first call reminding Peter that he gave up all to follow Him, but the work was not yet over, and in reality, had only just begun.
Remember this verse:
“And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”
John 10:16 KJV
It comes from this passage:
“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” – John 10:14-18
We are the other sheep! And still there are more to come into the fold! The work is not finished yet, there is still much more to come! Let us all remember our personal commitment to Christ today and listen to the voice of our Shepherd calling “Feed my sheep” and let us all examine our hearts that we are fully prepared to lay our own lives down for the cause of Christ!
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” – 1 John 3:16
If John 3:16 tells us the story of the Gospel (and it does), then 1 John 3:16 gives us our part in it! “Feed The Sheep”. (1 John 3:1-24)
Submitted by @ Heather Wright