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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP

(Part 139)

TENDING THE FLOCK – 7

May 18, 2018

Today’s gospel: John 21:15-19

Jesus is the Master; Peter is his first and foremost servant leader. What Jesus says to Peter he is also saying to all servant leaders today.

Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” (v.15a,16a,17a). When Peter says yes, Jesus tells him three times, “Feed/tend my lambs/sheep” (v.15b,16b,17b). Servant leaders are to care for God’s people, protecting them and nourishing them. Now Jesus connects love for him with caring for his flock. Jesus loves his people, and would naturally care for them. But he has now entrusted this to his servant leaders. If we love God, then we must give our all in caring for His people.

This is also important, because Jesus is lovable since he is perfect, but his people are often not so lovable because they are so imperfect. So servant leaders will be challenged in giving their all in caring for people. They might at times even think that those they are caring for do not deserve it. That is when they need to keep focused on Jesus, and know that his sheep have been entrusted to them. He died for us even when we were sinners, and so out of love for him, we care for his flock even if they seem not to merit such love and care.

Jesus asked Peter three times, to correspond to the three times that Peter denied him. Many Christian leaders of course love Jesus, but oftentimes their love falls short of the fullness of unilateral and unconditional love. There are even times when we in effect deny him through our thoughts, words and deeds. So Jesus wants to make sure. If we are to be worthy and effective servant leaders, then, out of our love for Jesus, we must care for his sheep. And we do so according to how he has cared for us, even unto death. We do so not by following our own desires and priorities. “Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted” (v.18a). Rather, you must allow the Lord to even “lead you where you do not want to go.” (v.18b).

Servant leaders serve in Jesus’ way, according to his example. Thus Jesus finally says to us, “Follow me.” (v.19b).

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