Wednesday 13 September 2017

Bible Book:
1 Peter

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time.” (v. 6)

1 Peter 5:1-14 Wednesday 13 September 2017

Psalm: Psalm 80


Instead of speaking generally to the believers in the Church,Peter now addresses the elders, justifying his comments with thefact that he himself is an elder as one of those who witnessed thesuffering of Christ. He reminds those involved about the roles theyare to play within the church, and indicating to the elders howthey should exercise their responsibility of leadership.

Although the word shepherd does not appear in the text it isclear that he is reminding them of their position as a shepherd ora pastor of the flock. This imagery would be familiar to hisreaders both from the Old Testament and also from the words ofJesus himself where he speaks of himself as the good shepherd (John10:11). It cannot have been easy pulling together theassortment of people who had come to faith from the community andthere might well have been a tendency for those in leadership tobecome somewhat tyrannical in the role. However, Peter warns themthat they should not lord it over the people but be an example tothem, living as people of faith, as disciples of Jesus.

Moving to the younger members of the burgeoning church, Peterwrites firmly that, in the light of such an example, they shouldaccept the authority of the elders. The whole body of people eldersand others should in the words of Peter "clothe themselves withhumility in [their] dealings with one another" for "God opposes theproud but gives grace to the humble" (v. 5).

The last verses of this letter prompt the believers to besteadfast and true in their faith. Even if suffering comes theirway they are not to despair but cast all their anxieties on to Godso that they can resist again, in Peter's words, "the devil [who]prowls around, looking for someone to devour." The people can thenbe comforted to know that after their suffering they will findpeace through the presence of Christ.

To Ponder

  • What has this chapter got to say to the Church today aboutrelationships between those in authority and those who seethemselves without power?
  • How easy is it to be submissive in the way Peter describes, ifa person feels that the leadership has got it not made the rightdecision.
  • Is the church, the people of God, always as humble as theymight be when faced with the world in this generation? How mightthey modify their behaviour?
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