by Eric Dunbar
After His resurrection, the Lord Jesus told Simon Peter that if he loved Him, he would “feed the sheep.” This Jesus did because He was now in the process of setting up the greatest living organism in the world — the church — and Peter was given the awesome responsibility of strengthening the disciples for this awe-inspiring task.
I believe one of the reasons Jesus told Peter to feed the sheep is because Peter knew what it meant to be forgiven. Just a few weeks before, Peter had boasted about how he would go to prison with Jesus. He even said he would die for Him. Well, we know how that played out. Peter did just the opposite. At a time when Jesus needed him the most, he denied Jesus with cursing and swearing. Peter, who saw himself as the perfect follower, was not so perfect anymore. After He had risen, Jesus didn’t beat up on Peter about walking out on Him, in fact He didn’t even mention it.
Pastors, leaders, and teachers of the word of God are commissioned to feed the sheep. But rather than feed the sheep, many pastors beat the sheep. They don’t lift people with encouraging words, instead they preach messages of condemnation that only serve to remind remind people of their short comings. Beating the sheep will not make them love God more. It will only make them to be more conscious of their sin.
Its no wonder that so many believers don’t grow, they are not properly nourished. When pastors feed the sheep the result is happier, healthier, grateful, well nourished believers that are equipped to handle the pressures of life.
Jesus paid the penalty for our restoration, but people still have to consent to be restored. Even after consent is given the restoration process begins with the soul. David said of the Lord, “He restores my soul.” The soul is the most tender part of human existence. It is where the devil plants his seeds of destruction when he wants to lead you away from God. One way he does this is to use the Law of God to attack believers by showing them how they have fallen short of God’s expectation for their lives. The truth is, Satan does not want you to know that the primary thing that God expects of you is that you acknowledge His Son.
When we fall short, God does not examine us, for He already knows that we are blemished. Instead, God examines the sacrifice. Since Jesus is our sinless, perfect sacrifice, God looks at Jesus when we fall short and He finds no fault. That is why He is the Lamb of God.
Be sure that you are exalted for feeding the sheep, rather than condemned for beating the sheep. Encourage people by pointing them to Jesus instead of pointing at their imperfections.