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 (Manna 87: Feed My Lambs, Tend My Sheep)
Manna 87 Editorial: Feed My Lambs, Tend My Sheep
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KC Tsai—Toronto, Canada

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (Jn 13:34a)

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)

In the above verses, the word “love” is translated from the Greek agápē, which is associated with the selfless love of God. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul describes this type of love as something that is greater than giving away all our possessions to feed the poor, or even delivering one’s body to be burned. Truly, Jesus’ love is beyond human comprehension; how can we love one another on the same scale?

Agápē is also the word Jesus used when He asked Peter before His ascension, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” (Jn 21:15b).

Simon Peter was not so sure in his reply: “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You” (Jn 21:15c). Here, instead of agápē, he used philéō, which denotes brotherly love.

Jesus asked the question again, using the word agápē. But on the third asking, He used the word that Peter was more comfortable with: philéō (Jn 21:16–17). Jesus knew His beloved disciple was not yet ready to comprehend His love, or the love He wants him to have. Jesus was willing to wait for Peter to mature in his spiritual understanding, as He knew he would. Later, Peter exhorts fellow believers to become partakers of the divine nature by diligently adding to their faith, eventually progressing from brotherly kindness to love (2 Pet 1:5–7). By this time, Peter was able to distinguish between brotherly love and the true agápē love that comes only from knowing the Lord Jesus.

When Peter replied that he loved his Lord, Jesus told him to feed His lambs, and to tend and feed His sheep. This is Jesus’ primary command to those who love Him. He not only wants His disciples to love one another, but to love the little ones the way He loved them (Jn 13:35; Mt 25:40, 45). We carry this out by feeding the pure milk of God’s word to those who belong to the Lord (1 Pet 2:1–2).

Today, we all rightly yearn for the name of our Lord Jesus to be glorified through church expansion. However, the growth of the church is measured not only by membership and the number of church locations. The true growth of the church is in elevating the quality of faith in the hearts of all members. If members possess the true knowledge of the Lord Jesus, through diligent Bible study and practice of its teachings, their faith will be rooted and they will know how to seek God’s will. Then the evangelistic work will naturally progress. When the members’ faith is sound, the entire church will enjoy the grace of being in the Lord, underpinned by the members’ urge to share.

This issue’s theme articles discuss how to care for the “little ones” and reach out to the lost sheep, pointing out how precious these are in the Lord’s eyes. One article stresses the importance of taking care of the elderly members—a pastoral work that should not be neglected. Since we are blessed to be in the True Jesus Church community of faith, where we have the truth, the spirit of God, and a supportive family in Christ, we are encouraged to look to the future with great anticipation.

Read on, and prepare to be motivated!

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Author: KC Tsai
Publisher: True Jesus Church
Date: 02/20/2019