For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.1 Peter 2:25(NASB)
In the middle section of his epistle, Peter outlines what a believer's relationship should be in different segments of society. He considers a pilgrim's relationship to the world, a citizen's relationship to the government, a servant's relationship to his master, and he ties it together with a believer's relationship with the Lord.
The challenge in each case is to display a Christ-like attitude before a world of unsaved people, so that our life honours the Lord, and stands as a witness to His goodness and grace - especially when His servants go through times of suffering for righteousness sake.
Peter points out that the Lord Jesus is the precious example of patient endurance and perfect submission, under unjust suffering. He is our representative Man, our gracious Shepherd and the caring Overseer - (or Pastor) of our souls, Who teaches, trains, guides, chastens, and protects.
Jesus is the One after which our lives should be patterned. He is not only our perfect example, but His suffering was expiatory, for His sacrifice on the Cross paid for the price of our sins. Through the power of His Holy Spirit, He perfects us and transforms us into His likeness.
Peter gently guides us through the multiple ways that Jesus is our representative Man. The life that Christ lived on earth is the standard upon which our own lives should be orchestrated. He reminds us that Jesus is also the good Shepherd of the sheep, Who not only laid down His life for us, but is the great Shepherd, and Bishop of our soul, Whom God raised from the dead, through the blood of the eternal covenant. And by God's grace, we are all being conformed into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ, the righteous.
Jesus is not only the One Who saved us, by God's grace - when we trusted Him for salvation, but He is also the One Who loved us and gave Himself for us, while we were still fallen sinners, who were spiritually dead in our trespasses and sins, and at enmity with God. "You were as sheep going astray," Peter reminds us, "You were continually straying and wandering away like sheep," he continues, "but now you are returned unto the Shepherd, Who is also the Guardian or Overseer of your souls."
Christ committed no sin, and was pure in word and deed. He suffered on our account. He was despised, rejected, and reviled, and yet did not retaliate. He bore our sins in His body on the tree, and provided healing for our soul. He took the punishment we justly deserve and was wounded for our transgressions - and He did this for you and He did it for me.. even when we were His bitter enemies.
Peter is pointing to Christ as the example of a godly life that we should seek to follow. He is exhorting us to behave in like-manner to Christ, in all our dealings with others, and in the various relationships in which we find ourselves.
Whether a pilgrim, a citizen, a master, a servant, or whatever relationships we have in life, let us look to Jesus in humble obedience, and follow in His footsteps - by living in total dependence on our heavenly Father, and in willing submission to the Holy Spirit. "For we were like sheep wandering far astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Pastor of our souls."
Heavenly Father, thank You that although I was dead in my sins, at enmity with You and going astray, You sought me out and found me and gathered me up into Your arms. Thank You that I am in relationship with You and have returned into fellowship with the good Shepherd of the sheep, Who is the Overseer of my soul. Keep me looking steadfastly to Jesus, and help me to reflect His loveliness in all my relationships, so that Christ may be seen in me, and You may be glorified in all I say and do. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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