16 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.
17 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.
After Jesus was resurrected, He visited his disciples. At first they were afraid, but Jesus showed them the prints in His hands and feet, and ate with them. He had risen from the dead, just as He said He would.
“Feed my sheep” (John 21:16)
Jesus made sure that each one of His sheep or followers was loved and cared for. Jesus needed someone to feed His sheep, that is, to teach and care for his followers and to teach them when He was no longer with them. He asked His disciples who loved Him to do this.
“Do we really understand the teachings of the Savior, “feed my sheep”? Feeding the lambs could well be missionary labors working with newly baptized members. Feeding the sheep could well refer to some less active, who need to be cared for and brought back to the flock. That one who was lost need not have become lost.”
Robert D. Hales
What did the Savior ask His disciples to do? “Feed my sheep” (John 21:16)
What is a disciple? Someone who strongly believes in the teachings of a religious leader, follows him and tries to act according to these teachings.
Are we disciples of Jesus Christ?
How can we help the Savior feed His sheep? Discuss how each member of your family can serve others and be missionaries.
Helping to Feed His Sheep
Deanne scrambled out of bed at the sound of her alarm and scurried down the hall to Mom and Dad’s room. “Hurry, it’s time to get up!” she called to her parents, “If we hurry we can be the first to get to Grandma and Grandpa’s and I can pick one of the beds on the screen porch for the entire summer.”
After breakfast the family loaded into the station wagon for the two hour drive to Spanish Fork where Grandma and Grandpa Smith lived. To pass the time they sang songs and played the alphabet game. As soon as they pulled to a stop in front of the quaint farm house, Deanne jumped out and ran to the front porch where Grandpa was sitting in a rocking chair whittling. “Is anyone else here yet? I want the back screen porch room!”
Grandpa chuckled, “You’re the first. Come give me a hug Dee Dee and then you can go put your claim on the screen porch. Evee and Nancy should be here soon.”
Deanne let out a shout of triumph just as Mom and Dad reached the porch. “We did it Dad! The granddaughters get the screen porch this summer. I’m going to get my suitcase out of the car.”
“After you get settled I have a surprise for you in the barn,” Grandpa called after her.
After all the cousins arrived Grandpa took them out to the barn. Nestled in the hay were two tiny lambs. “I brought them down from the pasture last night. My ewe was killed by a coyote, but her lambs were able to get away. They’ll have to be bottle fed if they’re going to survive.”
“We’ll take care of them for you Grandpa!” the six cousins agreed in unison.
“I was hoping you’d be willing,” said Grandpa. “The white one’s a girl and the black one’s a boy.
How about if the girls take care of the girl lamb and the boys take care of the boy lamb?”
The cousins sat in the hay next to the little lambs and began a debate on what to name them.
They decided on George and Gracie after Grandpa’s favorite radio show. Then Grandpa helped them make a schedule for taking care of the lambs. “They’ll have to be fed every four hours for the first two or three weeks. It’s going to be a lot of work. Are you sure you can handle it?”
“We’ll take good care of them Grandpa. We promise!”
For the first couple of weeks each cousin faithfully took their turn feeding the lambs. As the summer went on, one by one they tired of the tedious and demanding task of feeding the growing lambs.
By July only Deanne was left caring for George and Gracie. Grandmother was worried that it was too much for a nine-year-old to handle on her own, but Deanne was determined. “I could never break my promise to Grandpa or Heavenly Father.” Deanne went on to explain, “Grandma, the Holy Ghost whispered to me when Grandpa told us about the ewe dying. George and Gracie’s mother had given her life to protect them. I prayed and promised Heavenly Father that, with His help, I would take care of the lambs for her.”
Grandmother gave her granddaughter a tight squeeze. “I am so proud of you Dee Dee! Now that I know that Heavenly Father is helping you I won’t worry about it anymore.”
After talking to Deanne, Grandmother had an idea for Family Night that evening.
That evening Grandfather read John 21:13-16: “Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. 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.” Deanne’s cousins hung their heads.Grandmother explained how Christ gave His life for us. Then she asked her grandchildren, “After Jesus was resurrected what did He ask of His disciples?”
“He asked them to feed His sheep.” answered eight-year-old Evelyn, “just like Grandpa asked us to feed his sheep. I’m sorry I let you down Grandpa.”
Five-year-old Larry Dean asked, “How many sheep did Jesus have, Grandma?”
“We are all Jesus’ sheep–every one of Heavenly Father’s children on this earth. Jesus didn’t want any of His sheep to be lost or go hungry. How can we, as disciples of Christ, help feed His sheep?” asked Grandmother.
“I learned about this in deacon’s quorum,” answered twelve-year-old Roy. “We can help feed His sheep by going on missions.”
“Do I have to wait until I go on a mission to help feed Jesus’ sheep?” asked six-year-old Daniel.
“No Danny boy. Every member can be a missionary by living each day of their lives keeping the commandments, being good examples, sharing testimonies and performing good deeds.”
by Margie Nauta Lee
Place half of the “Haystacks” on a paper plate or in decorative tin to help the Savior feed His sheep (a non-member or in-active member family). Feed the other half of the “Haystacks” to your sheep (family).
These lessons are perfect for Family Home Evening at the beginning of the week, or to recap the following Sunday. Or use portions of the lesson throughout the week to enhance your family scripture study.
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