As Peter comes to the close of his letter, he draws on the rich imagery of Shepherd and Sheep. He reminds his fellow believers that as little sheep, they are in great danger even as they follow Jesus in the world, for the devil is like a prowling lion ready to devour anyone he can. How does the devil get to us? Peter focuses not on obvious spiritual attacks, but on how evil works inside of us to produce pride, self-sufficiency, and anxiety. He urges us to “stay alert” and to remain in a posture of humility, submitting to God, submitting to church leaders, submitting to one another. And in the end, Peter says, God will restore us and set everything right.
1 Peter 5: 1-11
1To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
5In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble.”
6Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
8Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.