1 Peter 5 is a goldmine for pastors.
I’m intrigued by how Peter introduces himself: “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ…” (1 Peter 5:1)
Not only is Peter a fellow elder, but he’s also a witness of the sufferings of Christ.
Why does Peter write about the sufferings of Christ as he begins to address elders? Two reasons.
The Cross Is All We Have
In the ministry of pastors, the cross is all we have. Without the cross, we have no message, no power, no confidence, and no hope. Peter heads to the cross because it’s impossible for him to imagine ministry without it.
Peter heard Jesus predict his sufferings. He heard Jesus’ family call him crazy. He saw Jesus become popular, and he saw the crowds turn against him. He sat at Jesus’ last Passover meal, and he watched Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, and trial.
Peter understood that Jesus’ sufferings stand at the center of history and ministry. He couldn’t stop talking about Jesus’ sufferings and what they accomplished. When he begins to speak to other elders, he starts with the cross.
As pastors, we can never move far from the cross. It’s all we have.
The Cross Is What We Need
The cross isn’t just what other people need. It’s what we need too.
When Jesus suffered, Peter fled. It was Peter’s worst moment. The cross revealed the depth of Peter’s need.
Peter could never be proud when he spoke of the cross. He could only be grateful for God’s grace toward a desperate sinner. The same applies to us.
As we realize how much we need grace, we grow in our gratitude for the cross.
If you’re a pastor, stay close to the cross. Talk about it. Stand amazed. Make it your theme. Without it, we have nothing. With it, we have the message that we need.
Don’t just stay close to the cross in your ministry; stay close to the cross in your life. Never lose your wonder. As you marvel, others will learn to marvel too.
Pastoral ministry begins and ends at the cross. The cross stands at the center of Christian ministry.