November 18 - Humility

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

November 18 - Humility - 1 Peter 5:1-7

In 1 Peter 1:1, Peter identifies himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ. Now, he begins this passage by telling us that he witnessed Christ's sufferings and has confidence that he will share in the coming glory.

This part of the letter certainly takes us through Peter's life with Christ. As I grow older, my memories come flooding back to me in various instances. It doesn't take many words to make me remember specific things. Imagine what is going through Peter's mind as he writes this.

In 1 Peter 5:1, he remembers the arrest in Gethsemane (Mark 14:43-46), the beatings (Matthew 27:28-31) and denial (Matthew 26:69-75), and the crucifixion (Luke 23:44-46) as he identifies himself as a witness to Christ's suffering. Without missing a beat, he speaks of the glory that he saw revealed in the Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36).

1 Peter 5:2 is reminiscent of Jesus' conversation with Peter in John 21:15-18, where He removes the stain of Peter's denial and entrusts the leadership of the church to him. Peter now extends this command to the elders of the church. "Tend to the sheep ... feed them ... take care of them."

He would have remembered Jesus tearing through the courtyards of the temple in Luke 19:45-46 as he expressed his desire that overseers not be greedy with the money that comes in to them as gifts. Peter was not speaking of the stipend that paid them, but additional funds being dispersed to them from the offerings of the fellowship.

When Jesus taught the disciples in Luke 22:24-30 about who would be the greatest and that the kings of the Gentiles and the Benefactors were not personalities to be emulated, Peter listened and translated those words back to his readers in 1 Peter 5:3. By the time Peter gets to 1 Peter 5:5, we know that he is remembering that very strong lesson in John 13:1-17 when Jesus knelt down to wash his feet.

Even though it goes against everything we are taught in this culture, we must remember that we humble ourselves - under God's mighty hand. And why? So that he may lift us up in due time. Our time is not His time, our plans may not be His plans. Only by stepping under that hand ... will we find ourselves walking in harmony with our Lord.

Holiness takes us to our knees before God.