Who is responsible for a Christian’s spiritual health—for his or her growth in the faith, in understanding the Scriptures, and progressive increase in personal holiness?
The answer might seem obvious. It’s you, right? If you’re a Christian, you need to take ownership of your growth in understanding the Scriptures and pursuit of holiness in Christ.
But is it your responsibility alone?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a pastor say something like this:
“It’s not my job to feed you—you need to feed yourself.”
And, if I had to be honest, nearly every time I’ve heard it, it’s made my skin crawl.
Why? Well, consider John 21:15-17 with me:
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.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep…” (John 21:15-17 ESV)
In this passage, the restoration of Peter, Jesus asks him three times:
“Peter, do you love me? Do you love me more than these other men? Do you love me?”
Just as Peter denied Jesus three times, so three times Jesus asks this question. And each time, Peter responds “Lord, you know that I love you.”
Now look at the response that this love brings. Three times, Jesus gives Peter this command:
Feed My lambs.
Tend My sheep.
Feed My sheep.
This command is so imperative that Jesus gave it three times in response to Peter’s profession of love—so what does He mean?
At the risk of being obvious, Jesus means exactly what He says: “Feed My sheep.” [Read more…]