The Marvelous Meaning of ‘Feed My Sheep’ in John 21
The King Eternal
“The Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and the everlasting king.” – Jeremiah 10:10
Ernest Shurtleff already was a published poet by the time he graduated from Andover Theological Seminary in 1888. Knowing this background, other students asked him to write a poem to commemorate the ceremony. He called it “Lead On, O King Eternal.”
The picture was of soldiers sent into battle for Christ who marched into “fields of conquest.” This battle song acknowledged Christians’ daily struggle against evil.
Shurtleff looked forward to celebrating victory as they fought with “deeds of love and mercy.” He knew that they would face difficulties. While acknowledging the reality of the cross, he celebrated the reality of the crown and the victory of those who are faithful.
But Shurtleff realized that God’s grace had made them strong. They faced a conflict that will continue until “sin’s fierce war shall cease, and holiness shall whisper the sweet amen of peace.”
This conflict didn’t depend on clashing swords or “stirring drums” but “with deeds of love and mercy.” Shurtleff was ready, gladly following his King, knowing that “the crown awaits the conquest.”
The imagery would become real for Shurtleff who eventually moved to Europe, where great tensions erupted in wars. But the spiritual battle was even more important. As you go out into spiritual battle, be sure you are prepared and ready. Be equipped and fit, confident in your victory through Christ.