Monday, September 26, 2022

The Shepherd of Our Souls (1 Peter 2:13-25)

"For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls" (1 Peter 2:25).

In our final lesson on the majesty of Christ, we will think about Christ as the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls. Peter uses this terminology in 1 Peter 2:25 where he says, “For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” At one time God’s people were scattered, but now they are united in one flock with one Shepherd. As the overseer or bishop of our souls, Christ looks closely at our lives, protects us, and cares for our needs. The Greek word for overseer or bishop is episkopos, from which Episcopal is derived. This word means “one who looks closely.” The word was originally a title given to military officers who inspected the troops. The New Testament church adopted the term and applied it to those who oversee the people of God by looking closely and watching over their spiritual and physical well-being.

While pastors and elders serve as overseers in the church, they serve under the authority of Christ. Christ alone is the supreme Archbishop of our souls. Christ is our Shepherd, and His sheep listen to His voice. While God’s people live on this earth, they are strangers in a foreign land. This is a tumultuous time as we wage war against our flesh and the temptations of the world. But God has not left us alone. Christ said that He would always be with us, that He would protect us, and watch over us. Human overseers and bishops are good provisions for the church, but they are only human instruments, prone to fail. But God has given us Christ, who guards our lives perfectly and keeps our souls until the day of glory. Therefore, we put our confidence not in men, but in Christ. We find our comfort and security ultimately in Him.

Martin Luther wrote, “The Son of God came for our sakes, to be our Shepherd and Bishop. If you believe that your sins have been removed through Him, you are His sheep, and He is your Shepherd. Moreover, He is your Bishop, and you are His soul. This is now the comfort all Christians have.” Like David, who found such great comfort in God as his Shepherd, look to Him for strength and comfort as you look forward to Christ’s return when He gathers His flock to Himself.

Read Titus 1:5–16. Why does Christ appoint overseers in His church? What is the responsibility of the overseer? Do you submit to your church leaders as watchmen from the Lord, allowing them to “look closely” at your life? Given the role of elders why is it important to be a member of a church?