Overseer of Souls
21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer [Bishop, Guardian]of your souls. (1 Peter 2:21-25, NIV)
Do you trust your pastor or priest? Do you trust them to preach Biblically sound messages from the pulpit and to give advice that follows Biblical teachings? Most would say yes, of course! Now, more importantly, why do you trust them?
If you said because they are the head of the church, that is the wrong answer. We live in a fallen world. It is a world of sin, where people in power, even those in power in the churches, can and do seek personal glory and gain. Sometimes they even seek personal glory and gain above preaching the Word of God. You should trust your pastor or priest because you have studied their teachings, and then taken time to study the Bible yourself and see if the teachings agree.
A priest, a pastor, an elder, a bishop, any church leadership position is a “noble task,” according to the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 3:1. James refers to it as a “weighty responsibility.” Throughout 1 Timothy, and in other Epistles, specific obligations and requirements are made on these leaders. Leaders are held to a higher standard by the Lord, as they are charged with shepherding their flock, their church.
Jesus, as discussed earlier this year, is the ultimate Shepherd. He is also the Overseer of Souls. As the Overseer of Souls, He is charged with taking care of us and guiding us towards the path of righteousness. In our walk with God, we can sometimes limit Jesus to just being our Savior who died for our sins, but He does so much more for us!
Nearly all Christians know someone that once professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but has since walked away from a life with Him. Maybe you even walked away for a time. You may have never lost your faith, but just decided you wanted to live the fun life. When we walk away and turn our backs on living a life for Christ, Jesus, as Overseer of Souls, is there waiting to guide us back into the flock. He persistently seeks us to have us rejoin the flock.
Jesus is the only church leader we never have to question if we can trust. We can trust Him completely because He is our salvation! He upholds all the obligations and requirements made on church leaders – and then some! He is the perfect example for all those shepherding their own flocks. Jesus is the perfect example for all Christians to follow.
So what does this mean for us? We never have to doubt Jesus. We can look to Him for everything! He is the ultimate authority.
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