If we were reading and studying 1 Peter sequentially, this week’s reflections would begin with chapter two. However, in order to support our churches using the lectionary, this selection jumps ahead to Chapter 2:13. We will return to the first part of chapter two in week four.
Many are reading and reflecting on these scriptures after weeks of limitations. It is hard and getting harder. People are suffering, even dying, in hospitals isolated from their families. Those grieving death are denied the compassion and support of friends at funerals. Parents are struggling to care for children doing school online and at the same time maintain their own work from home. Tensions are high. There are even protests. This is so unfair!
Peter throws us a curve ball this week. He puts Jesus, our hope, before us as the one who suffered without complaining. But it is not his lack of complaint that makes Him outstanding. What makes this all so amazing is that Jesus leads us through a new, upside-down view of suffering. He showed us that He takes upon Him every injustice, banishing it, suffering and dying for it, and finally burying it all so that we could be free.
To keep the baseball analogy going, Peter gives you an intentional walk! He offers four pitches that are pure grace. He calls us to view suffering as…
- A way to show your faith to your governing authorities.
- A way to do good in a harsh world
- A way to live lives commendable before God
- A way to know Jesus better.
You were put on base with Jesus by pure grace that makes no sense to most. But this is your calling, the grace to follow Jesus in His steps and live in hope freed to serve.
Set aside at least five minutes for these daily exercises and you will end up carrying them for hours! You can do this alone or a family group. Take the gifts you find and put them into action. With Jesus, they are a homerun!
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. 1 Peter 2:13-17
Take this verse into your scanning of the news media today. How does it change your perspective on the stories you read? How can you respond to at least one thing you read or see or hear that would represent living as a “servant of God?”
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. 1 Peter 2:18-19
Whether workplace, school, marketplace, or home, think of one person you dislike being accountable to? How are you mindful of and discovering God making this a gracious relationship in your life?
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. 1 Peter 2:20‑21
Recall a time you suffered for doing the right thing. What did the Lord teach you then… and now? How will you keep hope in focus and follow in His steps today?
[Jesus] 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. 1 Peter 2:22-23
What specific sins trouble you and need release in the suffering Jesus? How will you trust Him with your confession? What do you believe you will receive?
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. 1 Peter 2:24
What does it mean “to die to sin and live for righteousness?” How does Jesus make this possible?
For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:25
This week began with commendation to submit to our authorities. The week ends with your Shepherd and Overseer. What insights have you learned about your hope in Jesus this week? How will you put them into practice as one freed to serve?