Tag Archives: sheep

The Sheep from Another Pen

Jesus painted wonderful and memorable word pictures that describe God’s marvelous love for his people.  In John chapter 10 he pictured God’s people as a flock of sheep.  The Good Shepherd, Jesus, calls his sheep by name and they recognize his voice.  He goes ahead of them and leads his flock out to pasture.

The flock is endangered by a wolf and made vulnerable by a hired hand.  The wolf slips in to steal and destroy the flock.  The hired hand flees, leaving the sheep to be attacked and scattered.  Although the hired hand protects himself at the expense of the flock, the Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Jesus’ metaphor is a striking way to think about God’s people (the flock of sheep), Jesus (the Good Shepherd), Satan (the wolf), and false teachers (the hired hand).  The great affection of the Good Shepherd for his sheep is expressed by his willingness to die for his flock, an obvious reference to Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross at Calvary.

In his lovely portrait of God’s sacrificial affection, Jesus introduced the idea that he also has sheep that are from another pen.  In other words, the people of God include more than citizens of Jerusalem or Israel.  In fact, God sent Jesus to be Savior for people from every tribe, language, race, and nation.

Jesus emphasized his global mission to tell all people everywhere about God’s plan of salvation after his resurrection, just before he ascended back to heaven.  We should not, however, mistakenly get the impression that the Great Commission was a sort of afterthought or last-minute addition to Jesus’ mission.  The worldwide scope of Jesus’ mission is in the DNA of his words and works.

Missionary work is not an afterthought in Christianity; it is the very heart of God.  The Good Shepherd has a love that leaves the ninety-nine in order to find the one lost lamb.  And he rejoices when that endangered sheep is found.   And the Good Shepherd calls his followers to share in the toil and the triumph of God’s global mission.

May the love of Christ compel us to go and tell the Good News,

Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR

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Feed My Sheep

More than two years ago I started preaching through the Gospel of John during Sunday morning worship. Now I have finished, and in the concluding chapter of John’s Gospel there is a remarkable conversation between Jesus and Peter.

Jesus had warned his disciples that he would soon be betrayed and that they would all fall away. Peter had bragged that he would never fall away, even if all the others did.  Jesus assured Peter that before morning came he would deny even knowing Jesus, and so he did.

Now that Jesus was risen and appearing to his followers, proving that he was truly alive, Peter was a man torn in two.  On the one hand he was thrilled to see the Lord whom he loved so much.  On the other hand he surely wondered how Jesus could ever forgive him for what he had done.

Jesus made it a point to confront Peter in a loving and decisive manner.  As they ate breakfast together on the shore of Lake Tiberius, Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?”  Three times Peter told Jesus that he did.  Jesus allowed Peter to erase his three denials with three affirmations of love.

But Jesus did more than forgive Peter for his denials.  Each time Peter said that he loved Jesus, the Lord added a command. Feed my lambs.  Tend my sheep.  Feed my sheep.  Jesus’ sheep are his followers, the people of God; and he is the Good Shepherd.

To feed Jesus’ sheep is to care for Jesus’ followers, the church.  Peter was not just forgiven; he was reinstated to a place of service among Jesus’ followers.  Jesus would soon return to the Father, but Peter’s love for the Lord Jesus would still be evident through his service to the Lord’s church, his people.

Your love for the Lord Jesus is evident in the way that you serve God’s people.  What an honor it is for me to serve alongside you, my church family, as you demonstrate your affection for the Savior through your service in his church.  Like Peter, you have a commission from the Lord to labor in his Name.

As you examine yourselves, please prayerfully consider your place of service at your church.

Like Peter, each of us is called to a place of service among Jesus’ followers.  And like Peter, even our past failures cannot keep us from expressing our love for the Lord by serving him now.

May the Lord inspire and enable us to love one another,

Brother Richard Foster
Grace Baptist Church, Camden AR

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Filed under Religion, Service