Updated: Jul 4
PETER'S LEADERSHIP OF THE ELDERS
In 1 Peter 5:1-4, his message is clear to the elders, they are to be shepherds, serving those they oversee as stewards of God's flock, model as a “Chief Shepherd” for their followers who will receive God's help and hope in their faithfulness to Him in their suffering. Next, Peter speaks of the role of the elders as shepherds of God's flock and defines the character of an elder. Peter goes on to define the responsibilities of the elder as:
1.) an overseer,
2.) a shepherd,
3.) a servant, and 4.) a steward of God's flock.
Then he outlines what should be the motivation of an elder. An elder should place priority on a willingness and eagerness to serve without concern over compensation.
Peter continues the letter by challenging the elders to be examples in the trying times for their flock. ( 1Peter 5:3). He places emphasis on Yeshua as the “Chief Shepard”.
TO THE FOLLOWERS During these times, mostly men were the attendees who were up front, so Peter addressed his concerns to the men of the congregation. “Ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.” (1 Peter 5:5) Here, he emphasizes the humble and submissive posture the followers are to take in their relation to the elders of the church community. To the followers who have the responsibility to minister to others, he said they are to minister under the guidance, authority, and modeling of the elders. Again, Peter goes on to emphasize the spiritual battles and hardships of the believers, highlighting the importance of obedience to the standards set forth by Yeshua.
In the closing of 1 Peter, he refers to their suffering, placing their time of suffering in context of the blessings of eternity. He assures followers and leaders that God's response will make them, “perfect,” steadfast, strong and steadfast against the power of the devil and will bring them into eternal glory. This letter reflects Peter's character as a leader.
PETER'S SECOND LETTER Peter opens his second letter with, “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of” Yeshua HaMashiach (2 Peter 1:1) In this letter Peter is foretelling the believers of conditions of the latter days and shows more fully how the earth will be renovated by fire instead of water as in the great flood of Noah's time (3:1-13). This author realized the similarity of 2 Peter to 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Jude and Revelation. These should be taken seriously by all believers. God mentions things that He wants His people to understand and be aware of at least three times in scripture. Notice this similarity is mentioned more than three times. All the books mentioned above give a picture of the great apostasy of the last days. All describe the leaders of this apostasy, and reveal the end of anti- Christian forces. However, this paper is not on this subject, yet it is placed here because of it's seriousness and the yet unfulfilled prophecy in 2 Peter. This is how serious it is that we believers understand and recognize the importance of this message.
Peter's kindness and humility are evident throughout his letters. His humility and confidence is indicated through regular reliance on prayer that he learned from Yeshua. These are scriptures showing Peter's devotion to prayer, Acts 3:1, 6:4 and 10:9, KJV.
Who would have thought that independent, strong willed, presumptuous, brash Peter would become a role model of a humble servant leader, with a shepherd's heart? His epistles are filled with instructions on how to behave humbly and how to live out a life filled with the Spirit. It appears that Yeshua did an excellent job in preparing Peter to become the Leader that He knew he would become.
LEADERSHIP LESSONS LEARNED FROM PETER As we examine the transformation of Peter in the Gospels, we see the struggles and weaknesses of the flesh, especially if you take your eyes off of Yeshua and focus on self. In Peter's early relationship with Yeshua, we see him as self assertive, inconsistent and impulsive, a bully sort. Yeshua transforms Peter, none the less. First, He changes his name to Cephas. He observes many miracles and sermons given by Yeshua. Through many teachings and private conversations along with the apostles we see Yeshua teaching, answering the apostles' questions and preparing them. As He would oftentimes go off and pray, He was teaching them the importance of prayer. We later see Yeshua as the model affecting Peter by imparting a vision for his future. Yeshua tells Peter,
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou
wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and
thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth
thy hands, and another shall gird thee,
and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.”
Here, Yeshua provides an image or a vision of Peter's future and restores him (after his denials) to his former position as the “rock” (John 1:42, KJV) by acknowledging his renewed commitment as Yeshua's follower and servant. In this we see Peter demonstrating humility and resilience in his relationship with Yeshua. He is transformed through his interaction with Yeshua's words and projection into his future.
Another lesson learned here, is that from the interaction of Peter with Yeshua, projecting the future through the eyes of the follower, who otherwise may not be aware of their abilities or have total awareness of them, is an effective motivational tool for a leader. It may be done to affirm and raise the level of the follower, raising the resulting impact on the organization through the subsequent words and actions of the follower. In other words, causing the listener to act in a way that they otherwise would not have but, because of the need or want for the leader's words to be fulfilled acts to the words spoken of them. In 1 Peter 5, when Peter addressed the struggling leaders and followers, he wrote, “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”(12) Peter learned a valuable leadership lesson through his experiences with Yeshua. What the disciples did not realize was Yeshua was mentoring them to carry on His teachings.
Peter's charismatic character showed through in his sermons along with the effects of the Holy Spirit in the conversion of thousands in the Book of Acts. Peter raised the energy and commitment of the believers especially new believers through his enthusiasm. Peter like Yeshua placed a high value on serving the followers over satisfying the needs of the organization.
This author particularly thought the way Yeshua showed His disciples the meaning of serving was a magnificent way to do so. In Luke 13:4-15, Yeshua girded himself with a towel, poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet and wipe them with the towel he had around his waist. The purpose was to show them how to be servants of God. This was particularly an important demonstration for Peter since he requested not only for his feet to be washed but that his head and hands also. Yeshua was demonstrating that they were to serve one another and others, not to thing of who was going to be the greatest or the leader. He informed them that they were already clean, but, “Ye call me Master and Lord and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet...” Truly, “I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him” (John 13:13-16, KJV).
In conclusion, Peter is recognized as a model for servant leader. Christ shaped Peter from a fisherman to a leader who serves men or to “a of fisher of men”. Yeshua shaped Peter through leading and nudging him by demonstrating what the leader should look like and encouraging him with certain demonstrative words to help change and build Peter's character as well as his wisdom and knowledge. Through this we see how God builds a leader.
During the times when Peter forgot self or his flush and started focusing on Yeshua, (especially when Peter walked on water to get to Yeshua) he showed us how to look at Yeshua instead of ourselves. Yeshua gave Peter a vision of himself in the future which gave Peter something to look forward to. As Peter grew older and acquired more wisdom and as the Christian situation grew darker, Peter began to understand the vision that was given to him.
We also see Peter's growth when he kept the believers' needs as a priority when he dealt with organizational challenges in his epistle. We can learn from Peter how to balance the needs of our followers to the challenges of the organization. Peter's epistle shows us how to smoothly transfer our legacy and the legacy of Yeshua to our followers and elders of the church. Peter gives us a model and helps us to understand the importance of mentoring the leaders of our organization to develop their character as servants to their followers. In Peter we can see the development of character that Barna so describes. In his book, Leaders on Leadership, George Barna says: “...character takes more than the practice of external disciplines, for it involves the heart not just habits. Character relates to more than just devotion, for it involves transformation, not simply inspiration. Character transcends obedience to rules, for it involves the Holy Spirit's speaking to the inner man, offering more than commandments understood by the mind. Such character involves transparency before and accountability to, other people. It is not merely a private quest for purity; it is not solely a man-to-his- God humility.”(13)
We see all of this in Peter, especially through the Epistles of Peter. Yeshua's interactions with Peter were loving and motivated by Peter's best interests. The prediction of Peter's denial was of concern, it certainly concerned Peter. In Luke 22:31, we see Yeshua's concern for Peter with the words, “Simon, Simon”. Notice, he did not call him Peter but Simon which was his name before He changed it to the “Rock”. Yeshua knows that Peter will go through a serious trial knocking his progress towards becoming Peter. Yeshua prayed that Peter's faith would not fail and that he come through this trial of denial. Again, we see Yeshua gently nudging Peter when He takes time aside to reinstate Peter and to demonstrate His forgiveness. Yeshua forced a threefold declaration of Peter's love for him when he mirrored Peter's threefold public denial. Here, we see progress in Peter's relationship with Yeshua as he answers the third time. Before, Peter would demonstrate claims of extravagant loyalty. This time he merely keeps the declaration simple and appeals to Yeshua to weigh his words, “Lord you know all things...” This shows progress and transformation in Peter. Endnotes:
1 Acts 2:14.; 2 Acts 3:41.; 3 Acts 4:4.; 4 John 18:25-27.; 5 KJV Bible.; 6 Acts 10:9-16.; 7 Acts 11:1-18.; 8 Acts 3:1-16.; 9 www.christianity.com ;10 KJV Bible.; 11 1 Peter 5:1.;
12 1 Peter 5:10.; 13 Barna, Leaders on Leadership, pg. 79.
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