“And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.”
And when the Chief Shepherd appears,
The New Testament uses the title “Chief Shepherd” only of the Lord Jesus. Jesus is the Head Shepherd, the Chief Pastor. The Head Shepherd directs the activities of other shepherds (pastors). The word “chief” carries the idea of preeminence.
The primary meaning of “appears” is to make visible, clear, manifest, known. The essential meaning is to uncover, lay bare, or reveal. The word “appears” refers to the manifestation of the Lord Jesus at the Second Advent. Then he will show all the glory that He indeed possesses. The word “manifestation” is stronger than the word “appear.” A person may appear without proper disclosure of his real character. Jesus will come in the full divulgence of His character.
“He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (1 Peter 1:20).
“Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you” (2 Corinthians 7:12).
“When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:4).
“And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 John 2:28).
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).
When Jesus comes, He will fully disclose everything and reward steadfast faithfulness.
The Chief Pastor is coming back (1:7). When He comes, He will bring rewards with Him — crowns (Revelation 22:12). When the Chief Pastor shows Himself, He will expose everything. If a pastor does not take the leadership (vv.2-3) anarchy will result. He was not faithful to the flock. If everyone leads, no one is in charge.
There are special rewards for leadership. Christian leaders will receive special rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ. We do not realize our rewards for leading in this life. It is challenging to serve sometimes when no one recognizes our contribution. Some Christian leaders serve in obscurity with little human recognition.
But Jesus will personally reward these leaders. The Chief Pastor will personally award the under-pastors. No human organization will give the final applause.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Jesus will reward leaders with an unfading crown of glory. On that final day, the Lord will say, “I want you to reign with me. You did a fine job leading on earth in time; now, in eternity, I want you to reign with me forever.” That will be our reward.
Pastors need to keep in mind that they are not the Chief Pastor. If a pastor begins to think that he is the Chief Pastor, he starts to play God. The ultimate Shepherd and Bishop of our souls is the Lord Jesus (1 Pe 2:25).
“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).