And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe, yourselves with humility toward one another because

‘God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble.’

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5: 4-7)

Jesus is not only the Good Shepherd, He is also the Chief Shepherd. That means that He is the Shepherd of all shepherds.

Shepherds need a Shepherd just as much as the sheep do. Those who are called to lead are not only accountable to the Chief Shepherd for the sheep with which they are entrusted. They also need a model and a mentor for the responsible task that is theirs. Jesus is both the Good Shepherd to the sheep and the Chief Shepherd to those who are called to care for the sheep.

God had an issue with the shepherds of His ancient people because they failed to fulfil their calling to care for the sheep. Instead they exploited them for their own benefit. Did Peter have these words in mind when he wrote to God’s people?

The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? . . . You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. . .’ (Ezek. 34: 1, 2, 4)

What an indictment against the leaders of God’s people! And yet there are spiritual leaders today who are no different from those who received God’s judgment in Ezekiel’s day.

Peter’s strong counsel is, ‘Don’t do it! You are accountable to the Chief Shepherd for the way you lead His flock.’ Peter himself had received the mandate from the mouth of Jesus: ‘Feed my sheep; tend my lambs; take care of my flock.’

For both Peter and Paul there was the anticipation of a reward for fulfilling their calling. Paul’s crown was a crown of righteousness:

For I am ready to be poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing. (2 Tim. 4: 6-8)

Peter’s crown was an indestructible crown of glory:

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. (1 Peter 5: 4)

To the flock he wrote: Be humble and submit to your leaders. In this way the unity of the flock will be maintained. There is no place in the company of God’s people for a democratic attitude or for rebels or loners. Harmony is the way of unity. Mutual submission produces harmony when authority is respected and everyone is willing to submit to each other for the common good.

How does one learn to submit? By casting one’s anxieties on God. Whatever your issues, don’t beat the other sheep with them. Roll them onto God and at the right time He will vindicate you.

Cast you cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. (Psa. 55: 22)

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Categories: Bible Study Tags: , ,

Luella Campbell

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