A Charge to the Church
I. The church must have a pastor who fulfills the biblical role of his office (vv. 1-4)
A. Peter’s qualifications (v. 1)
Peter did actually observe Christ in his ministry, saw the opposition mount against him, was present when he was arrested, and may have found his way to the cross after denying him. Even if he was not present at the crucifixion, he would have received the tradition incredibly early from John the Apostle, the Lord’s mother, and other witnesses.
B. The Pastor’s Role (vv. 2-3)
1. His Function (vv. 1-2a)
2. His Methods (vv. 2b-3)
Those who serve only because they feel they must will lose their joy, and the church will suffer as a consequence.
elders would presumably work long hours and be the first targets of persecution, both of which could quench their desire to continue.
The leaders of God’s flock do not serve because they have to, as if it were simply another job, nor do they serve to skim off money for themselves.
Elders are not to enter the ministry so they can boss others around but so they can exemplify the character of Christ to those under their charge.
C. The Pastor’s Motivation (v. 4)
The designation of Jesus as the Chief Shepherd reminds the leaders that they are fundamentally servants, not autocrats. Their positions of leadership are a responsibility, not a privilege by which they advance their own status. As shepherds they serve under the authority of the Chief Shepherd, doing his will rather than theirs.
Peter contrasted the crown elders will receive with the leafy crowns bestowed in the Greco-Roman world. Such crowns were given after athletic victories or military conquests (Martial, Epig. 2.2; Pliny, Hist. nat. 15.5; Dio Chrysostom, Or. 8.15). Such crowns faded as time elapsed, but the crown given by God (cf. 1 Pet 5:10) will never fade.
They may be despised on earth (and indeed rejected by their own neighbors), but they will be honored in heaven. And that is something well worth working and suffering for.