What Shall This Man Do? …the call to pastor

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.  He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.  He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.  This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.  Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?  Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? (John 21:15-21)

The scene is after the resurrection of Jesus, by the Sea of Galilee. The Disciples had gone back to what they were doing before Jesus had called them. Among them was Peter, who had deeply and vehemently denied Jesus.

The resurrected Jesus had already met with the disciples at least once, having told Mary,

But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.(Mark 16:7)

Jesus had singled out Peter, because Peter needed to hear that Jesus had called him by name. Peter had been so sure he would never deny Jesus even if all of the other disciples did. Now He wasn’t as sure of himself as he had been. He had collapsed in the day of trial, and disowned his LORD.

Jesus had a charcoal fire going, reminiscent of the charcoal fire Peter had warmed himself on the night he denied Christ. He then asks of Peter,

“Peter, Do You Agape Me more than these?” In other words, ‘Do you love me to the highest degree , and do you still think you love me more than the rest of the disciples? ‘

Peter answers this way, “Yes LORD you know that I Phileo You”…in short, You Know my heart, and you know that the best I can say now is that I am fond of you, and that I no longer compare myself favorably to my brethren.

This occurred three times, but on the third time, Jesus only asked Peter if He was fond of Jesus, and Peter was grieved, and exclaimed, “Lord You Know All Things!”… .

Peter thought He knew himself, but the arrest and trial of Jesus revealed to Peter something about Peter. He may have had good intentions but he collapsed in the time of trial. Peter was shocked and surprised at his own cowardice and weakness,  but Jesus wasn’t shocked at all.

He already knew what was in Peter, but still he called Him to be a Shepherd. This may have been what the apostle John was referring to when in his epistle he said,

“Bretheren, if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts and knows all things...” (I John 3:20)

After each of the questions Jesus’ answers with a pastoral call,

If You Love Me, feed (bosco) my lambs,…bosco means to feed

if you love me, feed (Poimein) my little sheep,…poimein means to shepherd

If you love me, feed (Bosco) my sheep… .

Knowing full well who Peter was, in all of his flaws and weaknesses, and knowing that Peter could only say he was fond of Jesus at this point, Jesus called Peter to be a Pastor (Poimen) of his flock. He was to lead, guide, feed, and protect the lambs, little sheep and the mature sheep of God’s flock.

This is what it means to be a Pastor and an Elder, and Overseer. Jesus, the true Pastor,  bought people with His  own blood and appointed men to watch over them, and feed them. Sheep are to be led, not driven, and they need nourishment which is true.

The example is the good Shepherd, the LORD Jesus Christ, the true Shepherd and bishop of our souls. See how he led the flock in the days of his flesh, feeding them (Teaching the Word) constantly, binding up their wounds and confronting the wolves and hirelings who only sought power band trampled on God’s heritage without regard?Imitate Him, Shepherds!

That is what it means to be a leader in the church of God. There are many obsessed with church government in a quasi political way; they seek power and position, and especially to be able to corral in Pastors and bring them under their authority. None of this has anything to do with the welfare of the sheep, who need the Word of God, and protection from wolves.

We believe in a plurality of elders, but unashamedly acknowledge that within that plurality, there will always either be a leader or de facto there will evolve a leader among the elders. There is nothing wrong with this although I have heard many decry it cynically as a “One man show”.

Obviously in a healthy church, the business of the Kingdom is no “show” and furthermore, the fact that there is a visible leader within a plurality of elders, doesn’t indicate that such a leader is autocratic, “doing his own thing”. Behind a gifted preacher or sent out ambassador of any healthy church is a board of elders He is accountable to, and of course the accountability of all of us is really to the Word of God.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.  Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, ‘Follow Me!'” (21:18-19, NASB)

Peter was told that He would one day give the ultimate witness to Christ, He would lay down his life in martyrdom, in the discharge of his duties as a Shepherd. He would go willingly where He normally would have never gone, and He would also be crucified (Stretch out your hands) as His final witness to Christ.

Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?  Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?  Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.( John 21:20-22)

Having heard his own calling, and of his ultimate martyrdom, Peter was curious about John’s future and fate as a fellow disciple. “What shall this man do? .

When it comes to various forms  and principles of church government, there are many spiritual busy-bodies doing what Peter did; concerning themselves with the ministries of others, seeking to delegitimize them based on inferences in scripture about how it ought to be done, and in some cases , they have even shown a willingness to try to split churches based on such differences.

There are many valid expressions of church government; Plurality of Eldership, Rule by overseers, or by an overseer, or even congregational style. What matters is, are the Lord’s Lambs being fed, protected and guided properly? Are the Sheep being ministered to? Is there a setting provided for organized worship, teaching and LORDS Supper?

Would it be ethical to destroy a church because you no longer agree with the church Government? To call the members and undermine the leadership, whether they be singular or plural?

What shall this man do…?

The short answer Jesus gave to Peter should suffice here, “…What is that to you? Just follow me!…” .

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Responses to What Shall This Man Do? …the call to pastor

  1. standingfirm says:

    The really sad thing in these last days is most of the men who are pastoring a church are not following the Lord. They are bringing in and have been for many, many years preaching heresy and doctrines of demons just like the Lord said would happen. Sadly most folks would rather hear what their itching ears want to hear, and not the pure word of God. They have gone from one fad to another always looking for “excitement” to thrill the flesh instead of learning the pure word of God to re-program the mind and heart. I have been very blessed by the Lord for leading me to Godly discernment ministries over twenty years ago. These are the precious ones contending for the faith even to the point of severe persecution from the deluded ones. They are faithful to the Lord to feed his remnant flock the truth, and to expose destructive heresies and practices that have very slowly seeped into mainstream churches. I thank the Lord for these precious keepers of the truth, Pastor Bill included. Lord, continue to bless and uphold your true ministers of the faith of which people like me are so grateful for. MARANATHA!!

  2. Mellany McKenzie says:

    I have been very blessed by the Lord for leading me to Godly discernment ministries over 5 years ago. These are the precious ones contending for the faith even to the point of severe persecution from the deluded ones. They are faithful to the Lord to feed his remnant flock the truth, and to expose destructive heresies and practices that have very slowly seeped into mainstream churches. I thank the Lord for these precious keepers of the truth, Pastor Bill included. Lord, continue to bless and uphold your true ministers of the faith of which people like me are so grateful for. MARANATHA!!
    I agree!
    Every single day the LORD leads me to study His word, repent, worship, and convicts me thru various ministries. Whenever I need ministry or understanding the LORD using various ministries is always there. I do keep trying to fit in but for some reason me and my husband always seem to be the odd duck out. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. It just never seems to work out. It is like trying to belong to something but no one wants u there. I always seem to offend people by saying I believe in the rapture or I love being able to read and understand the book of revelation. It is the only book that promises a blessing when you read it. The LORD comforts me but I sure do struggle with being a complete failure. I want to be pleasing to Him and to Him alone. Not a fearful or wicked servant but I sure do struggle some days.
    I keep thinking that one day there will be one day before the rapture!
    Let this be the day LORD!
    In Christ
    Mellany

  3. standingfirm says:

    Mellany, I am not sure if what I say here will be a comfort to you, but I hope that it does. Many years ago I was in a church that I dearly loved for seven years. The Lord had me there as “watchman” so to speak. I dearly loved my pastor and brother and sisters in the Lord (I still think of them and wonder where they are now). I saw things come into the church that I knew were wrong. Then when the leadership started teaching from a false prophet named Rick Joyner I knew it was time to leave. It broke my heart as this was my “church family.” I went to my pastor to inquire about how Rick Joyner’s book “The Final Quest” was introduced into adult Sunday school class. Pastor told me he had no control over what was taught. He said that the elders and music ministry took a vote and always outnumbered him. It was so sad to leave them all behind but I had to do it to remain faithful to the Lord and not compromise truth. They were going one way and I had to go another. So, folks like me are said to be “outside the camp”, which was better for me as it kept me from joining in with the apostasy. I realize my experience may different from yours, but you are not alone. Someday real soon we will all be with our Lord!! MARANATHA!!!

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