April 25, 2018
In His last conversation with Peter at the conclusion of His earthly ministry, Jesus imparts His final directive to him: feed the flock. "Peter, if you truly love me, then feed My sheep". And now Peter, after so many years of loving and unselfish ministry to Christ's Church, imparts this same directive to others: feed the flock. Here, in chapter 5, Peter directs his remarks to "the elders", from the Greek word "presbuteros", meaning presbyter or minister. It was to the pastoral ministry he was now writing.
We see in Peter's caring and deliberate instructions an exhortation for these ministers to feed the Master's sheep, but not in merely WHAT to do, but in HOW to do it. Because it's crucially important for all those who are called to ministry to understand not merely the WHAT of ministry, but the HOW.
Jesus Himself demonstrated during the Last Supper the ultimate example of HOW His disciples were to minister to others. He commanded them to minister and to lead not as Gentile leaders do, by lording their position over their subjects, and demanding those under them to "bend the knee" to them.
No, just the opposite. Jesus, though He was God manifest in the flesh, humbled Himself, girded Himself with a towel, and "bent the knee" before His disciples, ministering to them by washing their feet.
You see, the Kingdom of God is the exact opposite of the kingdoms and organizations of this world. These earthly kingdoms are like a pyramid, with the leaders at the apex, and all those under them are required to "bend the knee" to those at the apex. But Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God is an upside-down pyramid, with the apex at the bottom, and the leaders of Jesus' flock are at the bottom, "bending the knee" in service and ministry to those above them, which are the flock of God. This, and this alone, is the mark of genuine, God-called and ordained ministry.
In whatever capacity that each of us are called to minister, in ways great or small, whether seen or unseen, let us all be adorned with this same attitude and mindset which Peter here exhorts. To humble ourselves, just as our Savior did, and "bend the knee" before others in quiet and joyful humility, to feed the flock of God.
He appeals to the elders to the feed their flock
1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
to the younger men to obey the elders
5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
and to all to be sober, watchful, and firm in the faith
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.
13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.
14 Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.
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