Saturday 30 July 2022

Bible Book:

'Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the Church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.' (v. 28)

Acts 20:17-38 Saturday 30 July 2022

Psalm 20


Paul is here speaking to the elders, the ‘overseers’ or ‘bishops’ (these terms are interchangeable at this stage in the evolution of the Church). The ministers or leaders of the churches in Ephesus are given a farewell commission, before Paul travels to Jerusalem where he expects trouble in a similar way to that Jesus encountered when he entered Jerusalem for his last week. Both knew they had come to the attention of the authorities, who were not best pleased. Paul does not want his work to have been in vain, and urges them to be loyal in his absence, as any leader might.

Paul draws heavily on Old Testament imagery when he uses terms like ‘shepherd’, ‘flock’, and ‘wolves’, perhaps recalling how Jesus commissioned Peter to 'tend', or 'feed my sheep', as would some decades later be recorded in John's Gospel (21:15-17).

His speech is filled with warnings based on his experience, and on recommendations to follow his example in being self-supporting and irreproachable. It was important since the teaching about Jesus was inflammatory enough to get them into trouble, as it had him.

Notice that Paul attributes the growth of the Church, not to any human being, least of all himself, but to God, through Jesus, who died and was raised for all.

To Ponder:            

  • When church leaders differ, changing repeatedly through the lifetime of a Church, how is a congregation to discern which ones deserve their loyalty?
  • How would you advise church leaders to balance their own needs with those of the people they serve?


God our shepherd and our servant king, grant all your people the humility to see you in all others, the faithfulness to remain true to you, and the grace to be loving in all our responsibilities – together. Amen.

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