John 21:15-17 ESV
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.”
Even though this was Jesus’ specific message to Peter, these words are his words to us, as well. For when he calls us to follow him, he calls us to forsake our sins and to leave our past lives behind us in order to follow him where he leads us. For when we believe in Jesus, we die with him to sin and we are raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our new lives are not supposed to be like our old lives. And now our lives are to be surrendered to Christ to do his will, to go where he sends us and to do and to say what he says.
And when Jesus asks if we love him “more than these” he is talking about our sins and our selfish wills and our plans for our lives and our earthly attachments, etc. We are to love him more than our family members, too, or we are not worthy of him. Basically, when we believe in Jesus and we die with him to sin, we die to our old lives and to us being the ones in control of our lives. Now he is Lord and Master of our lives, we are his possession, and now he is the one who should be directing us in the way we should go and where we should live and what job or ministry we should have, etc.
And then we are to feed the Lord’s sheep. No, this is not just for people who are pastors of churches or for people in positions of rule and authority over all people. The Lord has gifted all of us within his body and he has assigned us our parts in the body, and so we are to be using those gifts and doing his assignment for the mutual encouragement and edification of the body of Christ. And so we are to be exhorting and urging and instructing one another in the path of righteousness and so we are not hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. And we are to be speaking the truth in love to one another and speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
[Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Col 3:16; Heb 3:13]
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Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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