Feed and Follow

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23

Discouraged by the lack of a catch of fish, the men threw their nets on the other side of the boat.  Still, nothing.  Ready to call it quits, they began hauling the nets into the boat. Then a man shouted from the shore: “Put your nets on the other side!” Peter was not about to try again.  They had already done that numerous times and did not catch anything! John recognized the man as Jesus, and excitedly urged the men to try one more time. And when the disciples did what he said, they caught more fish than they could handle.

In the book of John, chapter 21, we see where Jesus finds the disciples after his death and resurrection.  He finds that they have returned to their lives as fishermen. He must have been sad that they had such little faith.  They did not believe what he had been telling them for three years! He didn’t reprimand them, though. Instead he took one more opportunity to teach them.  He gave them two commands:  Feed and Follow. I often wondered why Jesus asked him to feed His sheep first.  It seemed out of order. Don’t you need to follow Christ first before you can do any ministry? The reminder to minister to his followers, his sheep, was actually a way of probing the depths of Peter’s love for him. Peter is professing his love for Jesus, but when he says, “You know I love you,” he just uses the word for brotherly love. However, Jesus is looking for more.  Jesus was getting to Peter’s heart.  He knew that Peter could not serve him at all until he was willing to give up his own selfish desires and follow Jesus whole-heartedly.  It isn’t until the third time He asks Peter that Peter finally answers, “You know that I love you.” – using the word for self-sacrificing love. In order to do the work of the ministry, Peter would have to sacrifice self for the sake of the sheep. It is then that Jesus tells him to “follow me.” – The same way he told Peter at the very start of His ministry. He needed Peter to sacrifice self in order to be ready to follow Him. 

We need to evaluate our own hearts and see if our love for Christ is a self-sacrificing love. It is only then that we can follow Christ with our whole heart, undivided in purpose and plan.  It is then that we are ready to “feed His sheep.” 

Questions to ponder:  Is your heart divided over following God in your life, or are you undivided and unwavering in following after God?

Who are the sheep which God has placed in your life for you to minister to? Children? Husband? Neighbors? Extended Family?

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5 Comments

  1. November 23, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Insightful and inspiring post, Joanna. Write on.

  2. ozjane said,

    December 22, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I pray my heart is and remain undivided in allegiance to Him and His purposes for my life.

  3. Susan said,

    December 22, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Oh I want my heart to always be right. Great world.

    Merry Chirstmas♥

  4. Chelle said,

    December 22, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Great message today, thank you.


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