1 Peter 5

1 Peter 5

1 Peter 5 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Peter is following up on his previous chapter on suffering. It’s no surprise that in order to withstand suffering and encourage others through it, you need to have strong leadership. Peter is writing directly to pastors and elders, but also outlining the roles throughout the church.

Shepherd God’s flock among you, not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God’s will; not for the money but eagerly;  3  not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

1 Peter 5:2-3 HCSB 

Peter wants shepherds to do their work out of a desire to serve, not for pay, power, or position. An effective pastor desires to serve through obedience so that the flock can follow. This is an important clarification. If a pastor is not living in a way that sets an example for others to follow, that pastor may be in danger of shepherding for the wrong reasons.

Peter admonishes young men to submit to authority. We think of “young” as people in their teens or 20’s, but in the ancient world, it was common for anyone under the age of 40 to be considered young. In some cases, that line was 60! So, the range of people he is speaking to is much broader than we would typically envision.

In the same vein, Peter hammers home the importance of being “clothed” in humility. This is ironic considering he was caught in his own pride many times in Scripture. If anyone was qualified to talk about humility, it was the man who repeatedly denied knowing Jesus.

When you put all this together – service, submission, and humility – you get a picture of Jesus Christ. Probably the most fitting image of what Peter is describing (especially when he says ‘clothe yourself’) is in John 13 when Jesus lays aside his robe to put on a towel and wash his disciples’ feet. Jesus literally clothed Himself with a garment that would have been considered unfit for a king – let alone the King of Kings.

Peter, once again, was front and center for this encounter. In his pride, he resisted Jesus’ service but realized in time the error in his thinking. The powerful testimony of Peter here in 1 Peter 5 is authentic and believable because he struggled with these very same issues during his time following Jesus.

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