- Jesus said, “Feed My sheep” (John 21:18).
The call to shepherd in this moment doesn’t seem to just be a generic explanation of ministry life. Jesus likely isn’t just maxing out His favorite analogy, nor is He simply reshaping Peter from his fish-focus. No, Jesus may be saying something much deeper. In this more general use of the word “sheep,” Jesus speaks to His humbled friend–the one who claimed to be ready to die for Him. He could have said, “Die for them, Peter.” That’s what shepherds do. They willingly lay down their lives for sheep. What follows demonstrates that Peter knew what Jesus meant. In His next sentence, Jesus goes on to explain a bit of what that day will be like for this gregarious fisherman–a day not unlike the one Peter had just watched Jesus live. Feed sheep, doesn’t just mean be a shepherd on life’s grassy hillsides. It means you’ll give up everything else, even your very life.