1 Peter 5:1-4
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1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
We can directly learn what Peter found from his experiences with Jesus.
Peter was introduced to the idea of Jesus as Messiah, before he met Jesus, by his brother Andrew in John 1:41. In Luke 5, the chapter in Luke where Jesus calls His disciples, Peter is having a tough day at work, fishing, and witnesses Jesus tell them where to cast the net and two boats begin to sink trying to pull the net in with so many fish.
Peter immediately falls to his knees.....
Luke 5: But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
Not your typical - the answer is 'Jesus!' - Sunday School response.
Isaiah would have understood. Completely.
"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."
What would have drawn Jesus to Peter, the man - who was a fumbler. Peter never tried to hide from God Almighty who he was. Peter, honest to his core, believed more in his own goodness than Jesus did. Peter was so glad to meet Jesus. Overwhelmed by the King of Kings. Confused by what He said. Eager to be with Jesus, so eager he jumped out of a boat to walk on water to Jesus!
Matthew 14:28-29 28
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
.....It was Jesus' great opportunity, you know.... Jesus could have smiled and waived, laughed with the others, as Peter sank. "Bye Peter!" What a laugh, impossible to resist. Many people turn their backs on others when it is inconvenient to know them.
Jesus could have thundered, "Sinner. You are a stiff-necked, faithless man, convinced of your own goodness, eager for your own safety and glory!" And pointed at Peter until the water removed him from sight.
Not our Jesus. Our Jesus is our mediator, our advocate. Our Jesus saves. Our Jesus does not break a bruised reed, nor put out a faintly burning wick. How long did Jesus wait....
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.
Sometimes situations were difficult surrounding Jesus, it wasn't always healing and miracles. This completed what Simeon had told His mother Mary while he was a baby:
Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
Jesus once asked Peter if he wanted to leave. Jesus had a lot to say, sometimes it wasn't easy:
John 6:47- 68
47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
...... The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.
67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
Peter, painted by Ron di Cianni
Peter knew His Shepherd. After Peter betrayed the Lord during His trial, many would have slunk away permanently. Or gathered with the other disciples to further condemn Jesus for having placed them in danger.
Peter knew something important about His Shepherd. Peter knew he was loved. When there was a possibility Jesus had risen, Peter ran to him.
Peter and John Running, by Dan Burr Mindre
When Jesus began to appear to the disciples, after His resurrection, Peter was willing to jump out the boat for Jesus again. This time, he swam. Peter wasn't as convinced of his own goodness, but he was sure of his Savior.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.
When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them--fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread.