“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” (v. 16)

This study explores hope in suffering from a counter-intuitive, yet divine, perspective. Last week we explored our hope through the identity we are given as children of God. Peter builds on this by diving into the sufferings of Jesus. His suffering appears to be a great injustice, but through suffering Jesus bears our sins, heals our wounds and brings us under His care (vv. 24­-25). Peter commends us to exercise and steward our new identify with Jesus in situations where we feel treated unfairly. Suffering connected to Jesus provides hope that is freed to serve!


Checking In

  • How have you experienced an unexpected kindness this week? How did you receive it?
  • What is one frustration you experienced this week? How did you respond?


First Word:

1 Peter 2:13-17   Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.  For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.  Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.  Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 

(If we were reading and studying 1 Peter sequentially this study would begin with chapter two, however, we are following an order based on the lectionary readings which use only portions of this chapter and in an inverted order. Thus, this week’s sermon notes address verses 19-25. We begin, however with the paragraph before the sermon text. While omitted in the lectionary, these verses give helpful insight and grace for these difficult times.)

  • How has the pandemic heightened your awareness of being “subject to… human institutions?”
  • Identify specific words and phrases which—for the Lord’s sake—are commended to Christians in their response to human institutions and authorities?
  • How do these Biblical teachings challenge your thoughts and desires? How do they open opportunities to “do good” as servants of God?


Second Word:

1 Peter 2:18-25   Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.  For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.  For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.  For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.  He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.  When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.  He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.  For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

The Sermon Notes accompanying this study introduce us to the Festival of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) when the High Priest, sacrifices two goats. One goat is sacrificed as a “sin offering.” The other goat is abandoned in the wilderness to die as a “scapegoat.” Both goats teach us about Jesus. On the one hand, Jesus is the Father’s sacrificial offering in payment for our sins. On the other hand, Jesus is our scapegoat, the innocent One who takes our place carrying our sins away forever. In Jesus we see God’s servant who unjustly suffers to bring freedom and hope to the guilty. This helps us picture Peter’s teaching more vividly.

  • Discuss how each of these images add meaning to your hope.

a) Jesus’ sacrificial offering in payment for sins

b) Jesus’ abandoned as the guilty scapegoat for our sins.



St. Paul’s Lutheran (Des Peres) H.I.S. Puppeteers have produced a video puppet show to compliment this study. Enjoy! Watch it here.

  • How are you like the boy who threw the ball? What fears do you have when it comes to your sins?
  • How does the other boy act like a “scapegoat”?

Prayer Journal

This week’s prayer journal gets personal. Jesus was abandoned as our scapegoat so that we would never be abandoned. Jesus is with us. And He has brought us together in the Church for one another—especially in times of suffering.

      Jesus is the only one who can carry sins away for good. Peter, however, commends hope with a new perspective on suffering. He says, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” (v. 21)

Before you pray, complete the following exercise remembering you are child of God! Jesus is your hope! Take some time to reflect and write down answers to these questions as individuals first. Then as you are able share and pray about them.

a) What unresolved struggle is on your mind frequently

b) How does verse 21 (above) help you turn to a new focus, a higher calling, or a greater hope in this situation?

c) Search the verses in today’s study and/or other familiar scriptures that show you hope in Jesus.

d) What is one step you can take following Jesus, your hope and example.

e) How can you ask someone to pray for you?


Home Activity


Last week’s activity (click here for Week 2 Home Activity) explored God’s gifts and talents in you.

a) What gift did you choose to exercise in a new way?

b) What joy and affirmation did God show you in this experience?

c) What challenges did you have in sharing your gift?

d) How can encourage and rejoice with others who tried this same activity?


Blessing Our Institutions:

Verses 13-16 challenged the people of God to show grace in their submission to our human institutions. He calls us to a courageous stewardship that blesses “every human institution.”

a) Identify as many “institutions” as you can think of that impact your community or neighborhood (Here are some examples among many to get you started: Local governments, first responders and health care workers, grocery stores, utility services, teachers, and truckers.)

b) Identify one specific institution and the person or persons that you can make a specific, personal connection with.

c) Identify one way that you can support, assist, honor and bless them as a servant of God.

d) Make a specific plan to engage the people you have identified this week—personally or with a group.



If you haven’t done so already, make use of the Daily Reading and Reflections provided with this study (click here to read Week 3 Daily Reading and Reflections.) to help you listen to the Bible more. It will help you grow deeper in your hope, a hope freed to serve.

Close by taking turns using verses 20 and 21 to bless one another. An example of how you can modify it to be a blessing might go like this:

{Name} Jesus is your hope!

He is with you in suffering.

If when you do good

and suffer for it you endure,

This is a gracious thing in the sight of God!

For to this you have been called,

because Christ also suffered for you,

leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.