FED, FEED THE FLOCK, FEED MY SHEEP

1. Is it in the Bible?

Yes.

2. What do we believe it means?

These areas of scripture are God's ordination of the office of the pastor. The pastor is granted authority by God to be the sole teacher of doctrine to the church.

 

 

3. What does it really mean?

A great un-asked question in Christianity is simply this:

Why do we operate the church on a parable?

the terms "feed my sheep" of "feed the flock" are gigantic buzzwords in the traditional format of church meeting and function. Yet they are tiny phrases which have been used for centuries to create human government for the church. Jesus saying to Peter "feed my sheep" in the book of John is the basis for papal authority in the catholic church. the term "feed the flock" in 1Peter 5:2 is the basis for pastoral authority in both the protestant and catholic churches. We believe these phrases are saying as awful lot, aren't we!!

If I could ask one question to a pastor it would be this: Have you ever fed a sheep? I mean, a real sheep. Certainly most have not! to feed sheep, one simply opens a gate, and allows them to find their own grass to eat.

the act of feeding sheep is an act of release--exactly the opposite of ruling or governing or exercising authority over others. You may think that I am using my own logic in saying this. But this is exactly the description that Jesus gave in His teaching on being a "good pastor"...

1 ¶ Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.
7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (John 10: 1-18)

To fully understand Jesus' teaching here, one should study John chapters 9 and 10. In chapter 9, Jesus heals a man born blind from birth, but in a special way. he says "the works of God will be made manifest in him "--He "anoints" the man's eyes--jesus then tells the man to wash in a pool called "apostle" (Siloam--or sent--is apostello in the Greek--something the translators seem anxious to hide!) Most of John 9 is then dedicated to the description of this mans witnessing of Jesus. when jesus is questioned about these events, He then explains, thru a parable, his actions--actions which he calls being "a good pastor" (here translated as "shepherd"). the central action of which, is to operate like a gate--the act of feeding being described as..

9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

It is quite amazing how little this example is taught or studied. I have yet to meet a pastor who has studied this simple (yet important!) teaching Jesus gave here about the pastor gift. The pastoral gift is a gift of guiding others to their ministry. It is a gift of release.

But we would rather, it seems, follow our tradition--our experience. by turning the Bible into a list of buzzwords. Making the word of God fit our experience, instead of allowing God to be right, and let His Word open our eyes and change us.