Todays readings.. Judges 12&13, Isaiah 37, 1Pater 3,4&5
“WHEN THE CHIEF SHEPHERD APPEARS, YOU WILL RECEIVE …”
Today we read the concluding chapters of Peter’s 1st Epistle. What a challenging message Peter conveys to the “elect exiles of the Dispersion” [1 v.1].
As Paul was the apostle “to the Gentiles” – see Galatian 2 v.8,9., so Peter is the Apostle to the natural Jews who have come to believe in Jesus who have left Israel for the relative safety of “Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.”
Peter was joined in this mission by James – remember how we read the start of his Epistle last week – “To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.”
Why were they scattered? Undoubtedly some would have remained in Jerusalem – while it still existed! Peter has a warning for them – and how appropriate is this for us today! He wrote “The end of all things is at hand;therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly…” [4 v.7,8] And then in his final chapter, “And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” [v.4]. We must take these words of Peter to heart ourselves
Finally – note how verses v. 5 to 8 contain an exhortation we should embrace today with all our hearts. “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful.” Let us fully embrace these words today ready for “when the chief Shepherd appears” – and then we will be wonderfully ready to “receive …”