by Steve Cordle
In John 21 the risen Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?”
Peter (perhaps sadly) responds, “You know I do”.
Jesus then re-commissions Peter: “Take care of my sheep”. Three years earlier Jesus had called Peter to follow him and become a fisher of men. Now, even after Peter’s denial, Jesus reaffirms His call on Peter’s life: “Take care of my sheep.”
Many pastors — and group leaders — understand their calls to be to shepherd God’s flock.
But who were those sheep? At that time there were maybe 120 followers of Jesus. Are they the sheep Jesus meant Peter to care for? I think Jesus was also referring to many others yet unreached — those people who were not yet part of the new community of the Church. I think Jesus was also referring to those people who inwardly moved Him when He looked out over Jerusalem and saw the people who were “like sheep without a shepherd”. And shorlty thereafter the Holy Spirit empowered Peter to gather 3,000 more of those sheep in one day (Pentecost).
When we see our role as group leaders and pastors as taking care of ALL of Jesus’ sheep — including those wandering in the spiritual wilderness being attacked by wolves — it deeply influences the way we lead.
Has the Lord called you to “Take care of my sheep”? How are you seeking out his lost ones?