1 PETER 5
1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
...the glorified saints, as a whole, are described in the Apocalypse as "those who have come out of great tribulation." The tribulation
"tries and purifies and makes white, even to the time of the end" (Dan. xi. 35).
In our day we may not have it in the intense form in which the saints of the first century were subjected to it. Nevertheless, if we are true saints, we are not without our true share of purifying tribulation. We cannot be in the true "waiting" position without tasting tribulation in various ways. It is mild, perhaps, but slow and long-continued, and therefore burdensome to flesh and blood - perhaps more so than the tragic suffering to which first century believers were subjected.
It is testified of the Lord Jesus that
"for the joy set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame."
We must transfer this endurance to ourselves, though our suffering and our shame be less than his. We keep up under it and persevere, and not without a reason. There is "joy" ahead - great joy, such as has not entered into the heart of man to conceive.
What nobler or more desirable prospect could be set us than the prospect of being admitted to the multitudinous community of men made perfect through suffering, who will stand revealed from the dust by resurrection in the day of the Lord's manifestation from heaven with his mighty angels?
- men redeemed from the weakness that environed them in the days of their flesh; men changed from the mortal to the immortal; men, once lowly and wayworn pilgrims, now surrounded by a vast and rejoicing congregation of their own class; men, once of no esteem and spoken against, suddenly elevated from the lowest situation to the high places of the earth, and surrounded with glory and honour at the hands of the choicest of mankind and the most honourable of angels; men who had once laboriously to follow the ways of righteousness in obscurity and amid the embarrassments of poverty and lowly circumstances, now placed in circumstances of unspeakable affluence.
Men trodden down and despised in the days of their faith, now in the endless day of their "sight," wielding the iron rod of irresistible authority throughout the world; men strong, beautiful, glorious, wise, immortal, once disowned by the common herd of mankind, but now honoured with the recognition and fellowship of the Son of God?
No wonder there rises from that wonderful assembly a song like the roar of many waters and mighty thunderings, ascribing praise and thanksgiving to him whose wisdom and patience have achieved so grand a climax through ages of suffering. Oh, what are the longest of our waitings, the severest of our trials, in the light of that glorious day! We can fervently join with Paul and say,
"The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us."
Patience, brethren, patience. The night will surely end; the morning will come at last.
Bro Roberts - Refreshment
4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
The shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep.
This primarily refers to Christ himself, who offered himself a sacrifice of "sweet smelling savour" to Him who required this declaration of His righteousness, "that he might be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus" (Rom. iii.).
But it is true of all shepherd-men who have received the truth in the love of it, and estimate the work of Christ as their sweetest occupation and their highest honour. There is "a chief shepherd" (1 Pet. v. 4), viz., "that great shepherd of the sheep," our Lord Jesus, who was "brought again from the dead through the blood of the everlasting covenant" (Heb. xiii. 20).
This implies under-shepherds, namely, the apostles and all who enter into their work in the line of things indicated to Timothy in the words of Paul:
"The things that thou hast heard of me, among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. ii. 2).
Men of this qualification are the true "successors of the apostles," and they have been found wherever faithful men of ability have received and espoused the faith of Christ with the ardent appreciation and disinterested aims of the apostles. They require no hiring to look after the sheep, and when the wolf of danger in any shape presents itself, they sally forth with clubs to beat off the beast at the peril of their lives.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 29.