Have you ever purchased the meal for the person behind you in the drive-thru line? Or, have you ever offered to buy a stranger a cup of coffee at the coffee shop? Jesus gave us a simple principle in John 21: people need fed and it’s our job to feed them.
Jesus fed the disciples
After His resurrection, Jesus appeared three times to his disciples in the Gospels. John 21 records his third appearance. The disciples went fishing but didn’t catch anything all night long. Jesus appears to them walking on the beach and tells them to cast their nets onto the other side of the boat.
They then catch 153 large fish. John realizes it’s Jesus, and tells Peter who then proceeds to jump into the water and swim to shore. When they catch up to Jesus, He has breakfast prepared for them.
A key principle emerges here. Yes, it’s our job to feed those who need fed, however, we must first feed ourselves. We cannot minister to others if we haven’t properly prepared our own hearts and minds. We must first spend time in prayer and study with our Heavenly Father before we can attempt to feed others.
Jesus instructed us to feed his sheep
Three times Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him. Three times Peter answers yes and each time Jesus gives instruction.
Two concepts emerge from these three verses when you look at the original Greek. First, why did Jesus say lambs and then sheep? The word for lambs, arnion, is used significantly in the book of Revelation in reference to Jesus himself. This is its only use outside of Revelation. The word for sheep, probaton, is often used in reference to the lost sheep of Israel. I think it’s reasonable to conclude this lesson:
Jesus is telling the disciples, and by extension us, to take care of both believers and nonbelievers alike.
Second, the King James uses the word “feed” in all three verses. But really, the Greek word used in verse 16 is much closer to shepherd. “Take care of” is the wording in both the NIV and the NLT, which is probably much closer to what Jesus meant.
Needs often go much deeper than food. In other words, our second lesson is this:
Take care of those you are responsible for.
The big idea: people need fed
People need fed and it’s our job to feed them. How do we do this? That’s up to you. Remember, James reminds us that faith without good deeds is dead.
15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing,
16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. — James 2:14-17
Remember, how we behave is a reflection of our love. Ask yourself what you really believe, and be sure to act accordingly!
5 things we get by serving others
Jesus instructs us to lead through servant leadership. When we obey His commands there are things that we get out of it. Learn what those are in our free guide.Download our guide here