The Story: Peter, like Paul, James, and John, reminds us that our redemption is unto righteousness (Eph. 2.10; Jms. 2; 1 Jn. 2.1-6). If we remain in sin we won’t stand out from the world and, as a result, probably won’t have to worry about suffering. But Jesus died for us so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit (Rom. 14.17, 18), and we are true citizens of that Kingdom when we live this way (cf. 2 Pet. 1.5-11). We have returned to the Shepherd of our souls, and He knows only one way to walk, and has only one food to give us. The true sheep of the Lord will stay close to Him as He leads them in the paths of righteousness; and if they must suffer for this, so be it. He will never fail us nor forsake us, but will ever watch over and care for our souls. No amount of physical suffering can harm the souls of those who rest in the Good Shepherd.
The Structure: Jesus shepherds His Church through the duly-appointed shepherds who lead her (1 Pet. 5.1-3). But what does it mean to “shepherd the flock” of the Lord? Is “shepherding” whatever we say it is, or is there some distinct raft of skills and protocols which true shepherds of the Lord must employ? If there are, then we ought to seek these out, because this is the way we will stay close to the Good Shepherd, as we submit to the shepherding care of those appointed by Him to this task. Absent such shepherding care, how can the Church expect to fulfill her mission and calling?
Do the shepherds of your church do the work of shepherding? What does that look like?
Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “Lived Witness: 1 Peter 2.13-25,” simply click here.
T. M. Moore
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.