04/29/12 1 Peter 5:1-4
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
WHO DIED AND MADE YOU SHEPHERD?
1 Peter 5:1-4
Jewish people first began meeting in community centers or “synagogues” during their deportation to Babylon from 606-536 B.C. Since invaders had destroyed the Temple and they were far from home in Iraq, they began to meet in homes. There a leader who could read and had the maturity and wisdom that earns people’s respect would read sections from the Old Testament. In response, the group would discuss what the Bible section meant and sing Psalms and pray. When God brought them back to Judah in 536, they brought this new custom with them. If their community had at least 10 men, they could build one-room meeting houses as community centers. A Board of Directors was in charge. There were always 10 Board members, and they were called “elders.” If there was no accessible rabbi, which most of the time was the case, one of the Board members led the Wednesday and Saturday services. There were national elders. There were local elders. Christianity started out as almost exclusively Jewish. So, when they organized their house churches, they used the same format they had been used to as Jews. Peter ranks himself among “elders” in this section. So did John (2 John 1; 3 John 1).
What’s the difference between what we call “elders” and what Peter means (5:1)?
Peter had seen Jesus dress like a slave and humbly wash the disciples’ feet (John 13). Peter knew what it was to be unprepared when Satan was on the prowl (Mark 14:37).
What positions among Christians today would be “elders” (5:1)?
Leadership sets the tone among Christians. No matter how large or small a group, leaders must be growing in what they know about Jesus, in a loving concern for their people, and in a real desire to please Him. We lead by serving. We serve by suffering. That’s what Jesus did. That’s how we pay tribute to Him.
Why would Peter, as he explains about Christian leadership, bring up the suffering Jesus went through (5:1)?
Jesus used the word sheep to describe people who depend on Him (John 21:15-17). Sheep tend to flock together, and God’s people need to be together. Sheep are notoriously ignorant and prone to wander away if they don’t follow the shepherd. Sheep are defenseless and need a protector. Sheep produced wool, milk, and other sheep. Believers “reproduce” as well, bringing other people to Jesus, their Head Shepherd. Shepherds not only protect the flock. They also lead them from pasture to pasture for food.
What’s the difference between a “shepherd” and an “overseer” (5:2)?
Any group of Christians needs leaders who serve and servants who lead. Being a good example is how a shepherd solves the tension between being one of the sheep and “over” the sheep at the same time. We cannot lead people where we have not been ourselves.
What makes Christians feel forced into looking after people God placed under them (5:2)?
The Head Shepherd doesn’t want the shepherds under Him to be domineering or manipulative.
Why might shepherds among God’s people be in it for the money (5:2)?
The Lord puts His workers where He wants them to be. God’s Work is not a competition. Nobody has to act important and “lord it over” the rest of the sheep. God wants us to be “overseers,” not “overlords.”
7. What makes us feel like God’s making us bosses when He puts people under us (5:3)?
Greek sports fans from Peter’s day awarded champion athletes a “crown” made of flowers or leaves.
8. What is “the crown of glory” (5:4)?
It’s a strange thing. The Good Shepherd made shepherds out of His sheep. Peter didn’t feel up to the task (John 21:15-17). Left to ourselves, we’d drown under our own personal issues. But Jesus is alive and supportive in our individual lives. That’s why we can do right by Him for the right reasons.
1. How does this section connect to John 10:11-18? What’s the connection to Acts 20:28-32?
People say about pastors, “The pay isn’t much, but the benefits are out of this world.” What’s misleading about this?
List some of the leadership caps average believers wear. (Everyone has some!)