Some of the last preparations Jesus did with Peter before returning to heaven were to challenge and solidify Peter’s love for his Master and to direct his responsibility toward the Master’s sheep. The piercing question came in John 21: “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these?” Am I your chief and governing affection? Are you willing to sacrifice for Me above all others? Are you willing to do whatever I say? Peter was struggling at this point to fulfill what he had affirmed at salvation, but the Lord helped him. Peter did follow. What Jesus said was “Feed My lambs” and “Feed My sheep.” Jesus wanted Peter to care for His own. These are the two basis commands pastors are to follow in caring for the flock of God.
Feed My lambs has the idea of “nourish Christ’s little lambs.” The young sheep, new believers, have a great need to be brought along in their Christian life, taught the basics of the Christian life, and helped in developing new patterns. They can’t be neglected. They need strengthened in order to become mature sheep.
Feed My sheep has the idea of “shepherd Christ’s mature sheep.” The older sheep, believers who have been saved a while, need guided too, both in their knowledge of God’s Word and in living out God’s Word. They can’t be left alone either. They need help in their growth and in their ministry.
All believers need led and fed. The pastor does this through the Scriptures. Follow his lead.