1 Peter 5 … Consider Him, the Chief Shepherd

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory, (5:4).

As Peter wraps us his letter, he specifically addresses the elders who are called to pastor God’s people as a shepherd tends his flock. And while a reward is promised to those who obey Him, the Chief Shepherd, it seems again that the requirements exceed human ability,

It is interesting to note that this title of the Chief Shepherd is ascribed only to Christ; and in the Greek it is only one word.

Chief Shepherd:

750. ἀρχιποίμην archipoímēn; gen. archipoiménos, masc. noun from archí-, denoting rank or degree, and poimḗn (4166), a shepherd. Chief shepherd, applied to Christ (1 Pet. 5:4; cf. Heb. 13:20), Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance

44.5 ἀρχιποίμην, ενος m: the head shepherd who directs the activities of other shepherds—‘chief shepherd, head shepherd’ (in its only NT occurrence, a figurative reference to Christ), Louw- Nida Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament

Peter was not merely claiming that Jesus is the Best Shepherd, the Boss Shepherd, the Most Important Shepherd, although He Is. Peter was drawing our attention to the fact that Only One Is able, Only One Is qualified. Only One Is the Chief Shepherd

And what Peter was calling these elders to do was to grow in faith so as to walk in obedience so as to be transformed so as to become like Him, the Chief Shepherd.

Consider Him, the Chief Shepherd

  • He Is the Chief Shepherd Who voluntarily tends His flock.
    • shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness, (5:2).
      • “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep… 17 For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father,” (John 10:11, 17-18).
  • He Is the Chief Shepherd Who selflessly serves His flock.
    • nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. (5:3).
      • “and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many,” (Mark 10:44-45).
  • He Is the Chief Shepherd Who clothed Himself in humility.
    • You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble, (5:5).
      • who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross, (Philippians 2:6-8).
  • He Is the Chief Shepherd Who trusted God’s Hand to exalt Him.
    • Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, (5:6).
      • For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, (Philippians 2:9-11).
  • He Is the Chief Shepherd Who remained constantly alert in prayer.
    • Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, (5:8).
      • But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray, (Luke 5:16).
  • He Is the Chief Shepherd Who firmly resisted the enemy as He trusted His Father’s Will.
    • But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world, (5:9).
      • And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”42 He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done,” (Matthew 26:39, 42).
  • He Is the Chief Shepherd Who trusted God’s perfect timing to establish His dominion.
    • After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 11 To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen, (5:10-11).
      • Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You,” (John 17:1).

How do we respond to Him, the Chief Shepherd?

I am once again reminded of His miraculous, transforming power in our lives. As Peter called the elders to shepherd the flock, I can’t help but believe that he was also reminded of the past events of his own life.

Perhaps as Peter wrote, he remembered how he had betrayed Him, the Chief Shepherd. And then surely his heart overflowed as he thought on His great grace and restoration. And it is more than feasible that the charge of Jesus to tend His sheep rung loudly in his ears, calling to mind that it was a charge rooted in loving Him, the Chief Shepherd, more than anything or anyone else.

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep,” (John 21:15-17).

While we may not be called to serve as pastors or elders in our church, each of us are called to tend those He has put in our charge. Oh, that we would love Him more than anything or anyone else, that we would grow to become like Him. And by faith in His transforming power, let us commit to obedience as we selflessly and humbly share the love that we have received from Him, the Chief Shepherd.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you,” (John 15:12).

Let’s not forget that in and of ourselves, we can never be like Him. But let us also remember that He transforms lives, like Peter, like Paul, and even our own.

Oh, that we would daily walk in the gracious provision and transforming power of our Good Shepherd, that others would experience His goodness and lovingkindness following us all the days of our life as we follow Him, the Chief Shepherd.

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want…
6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever,
(Psalm 23:1, 6).

Let’s Grow Together!

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