When Peter encountered Jesus after the crucifixion, he needed to be encouraged. After denying Jesus three times, he felt like a complete failure. Jesus looked at Peter and asked him three times if he loved him. When Peter answered yes, he told him to feed his sheep. That was Peter’s role from that day forward. The church needs to be fed, and it comes from the pastor. They need to feed the flock.
“The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.”
Israel has a history of priests who neglected the people. They worried more about getting rich than instructing the flock in the knowledge of God’s Word. This left a country that was ignorant and susceptible to following other gods. In the Old Testament, God judges the priests and charges them with neglecting the people. A pastor’s job is to feed the flock.
Feed the Flock
People always ask, “How do you know if a pastor is good or not?” This verse gives us several key criteria. First, do they strengthen the congregation? This happens by teaching the Word of God. If your church doesn’t teach the scripture, then you need to pray God brings you another pastor, or you need to find another church. Feel-good sermons based on pop culture are like a sugar high. You soar at first, but then you end up lower afterward.
Second, do they care for the hurting? They aren’t a shepherd if they aren’t willing to pray for and counsel you in stressful situations. Finally, do they protect the sheep? Wolves in sheep clothing prowl around many churches. They lead whole families astray (Titus 1). A shepherd has to face the occasional wolf or bear. It’s part of the job description. If your pastor doesn’t measure up, pray for them. Pray for their hearts to be open and that they will change over time.