Under-shepherds

Ben Van Arragon

Read: 1 Peter 5:1-10

Shepherd the flock of God that is among you. (v. 2)

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, he led a group of disciples he called his “little flock” (Luke 12:32). The disciples did indeed behave like sheep: they wandered into trouble, questioned his leadership and in Gethsemane abandoned him completely. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to Peter, the disciple who denied him three times. After asking three times if Peter loved him, Jesus said, “Tend my sheep” (John 21:16). In this moment, Jesus issued a call not just to this disciple but all disciples. Jesus calls every believer to adopt his passion for the people of God.

This means that selfish, headstrong Peter must, like Jesus, lay down his life for his fellow sheep. It means that we, like Jesus, must set aside the right to be served and instead become servants. In his own call to leaders in the church, Peter urged humility, selflessness, and single-mindedness. These are qualities that do not come naturally to us. Jesus’ call itself may not seem entirely appropriate, as we appear (often to ourselves as much as to others) woefully unqualified.

But our model is the Good Shepherd himself. We know how to tend the flock because of the way he has tended us. His call to shepherd is itself an expression of the grace and favor with which he has shepherded us. There is no greater honor than to be appointed an under-shepherd. And there is no better way to thank our Shepherd than to share in tending his sheep. —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, ask Jesus to give you the opportunity to tend his sheep.