Home » Advanced Search » John 21:15-17

John 21:15-17

John 21:15-17
View Download and Print Options


John 21:15-17, “Do you love me?…Feed my lambs…tend my sheep…feed my sheep…”

These words were spoken specifically to Peter and the “feeding” etc. in view refers to Peter’s leadership in the Church. However, the same words can be received and applied by those who are not called to a ministry of teaching / leading. How? Three quick thoughts.

First—We see here that love for Christ is to be expressed within the matrix of relationships. For John, there is no way to love Jesus without reference to others. Just as a melody played by an instrument cannot be perceived apart from the air through which it travels, so too love for Christ is like a melody played by the instrument of the human soul, and the medium through which that melody travels and in which alone it can be heard is the medium of other people (“do you love ME? Feed my SHEEP).

Why is this? A few answers might be: 1) Because in loving others we are with Christ where He is. 2) Because, through incarnation, Christ has bound Himself to others so that in loving them in His name we are loving Him. 3) Because loving in obedience to Christ is our alignment to Christ, wherein we know and enjoy more of Christ.

Second—See the close association Christ makes between Himself and His people. This is the Johannine equivalent to Matt. 25:40 etc. If we love CHRIST, we will love / care for / feed His SHEEP, His people. People (especially challenging ones) are not interruptions from intimate fellowship with Christ, they are the medium in which that fellowship happens.

Third—though much more is here to be said—consider that what the sheep are to be fed is none other than Christ Himself! He—Crucified and Raised is the bread (6:35, 53, etc) which His sheep need; He is the pasture in which they are to be grazed; He—given by the Spirit—is the still waters to which they are to be led. Christ Himself is the food for His sheep. Do we love Him? Then let us feed Him to His people.

In this picture, then, I’ve attempted to show that our love for Christ is manifest in our love for His people, and our love for His people is the expression of our love for Christ (cf Heb.6:10).