“Feed my lambs” (John 21:15). The word “feed” comes from the Greek term meaning “to nourish or to pasture.” The word “lamb” comes from the diminutive term “arnion,” meaning “little lamb.”
Jesus said again, “Feed my sheep” (v. 16). In this verse, the word “feed” comes from a different term, “poimaino,” which means “to shepherd, to tend, or to care.” The word “sheep” comes from the term “probaton,” meaning “mature sheep.”
Jesus said a third time, “Feed my sheep” (v. 17). Feed again refers to nourishment; sheep refers to adult sheep.
These three verses, which seem so similar in the English language, really contain three distinct messages in Greek:
●Little lambs need to be nourished in order to grow;
●Sheep need to be tended;
●Sheep need to be nourished.
Therefore, one of the tangible signs of the restored church of Jesus Christ would have to be the establishment of an orderly system by which each precious member – young or old, male or female – might be given the continuing care and nourishment the Lord decreed for every one of His flock. . . .
President Ezra Taft Benson said: “The Good Shepherd gave His life for the sheep – for you and me – for us all (see John 10:17-18). The symbolism of the Good Shepherd is not without parallel in the Church today. The sheep need to be led by watchful shepherds. Too many are wandering. Some are being enticed away by momentary distractions. Others have become completely lost. . . . (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pp. 231-32) — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Shepherds, Lambs, and Home Teachers,” Ensign, August 1994, p. 16
The Parable of the lost sheep. (Luke 15:4)
President McKay commented: “How did the sheep get lost? He was not rebellious. If you follow the comparison, the lamb was seeking its livelihood in a perfectly legitimate manner, but either stupidly, perhaps unconsciously, it followed the enticement of the field, the prospect of better grass until it got out beyond the fold and was lost.
“So we have those in the Church, young men and young women, who wander away from the fold in perfectly legitimate ways. They are seeking success, success in business, success in their professions, and before long they become disinterested in Church and finally disconnected from the fold; they have lost track of what true success is. . . .”
He explained that true success is defined not by how well one does in business or other pursuits, but by how well one keeps the commandments and follows gospel principles. (President David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals) — Church News, April 22, 1995, p. 14