14 November 2015

1 Peter 4:9-13

“Be hospitable to one another” (v. 9)

Psalm: Psalm 125


Having ended the previous section (1 Peter 4:8) with another call to love each other, Peter continues by urging the readers to be hospitable without complaining in verse 9. Being hospitable might seem to be quite straightforward but how many of us have never complained about a guest? Part of being hospitable is the demonstration of acceptance which is, of course, the very opposite of a complaining spirit.

Peter goes on to urge the readers to act in what is essentially a practical fulfilment of Paul's concept of being 'in Christ' (Romans 6:3-4). This is achieved by serving each other by using whichever gifts God has given us, speaking as if God were speaking and using the strength given by God, rather than our own. Everything should be of God because everything comes from God.

In verse 12 we are reminded of the situation faced by Peter's readers, namely that they were facing opposition and persecution. He encourages the readers not to be dismayed or surprised at this but, instead, to see it as an inevitable consequence of following Christ. The implication is that if Christ himself suffered then so will his followers. Of course Peter is referring to the suffering caused by persecution and opposition to their faith but we might also remind ourselves not to be dismayed when suffering comes in other forms. Experience reminds us that suffering is part of life.

However, Peter does not just seek patience or perseverance but also exhorts the readers to rejoice in their suffering because they are sharing in Christ's suffering. The normal values of this life in which life is grasped onto and suffering is avoided at all costs are turned completely on their head by the "living hope" (1 Peter 1:3) of which Peter spoke, and which was considered in Monday's notes.

To Ponder

  • How do you respond to the exhortation to rejoice in sharing Christ's sufferings?
  • How can you practise hospitality, without complaining, today?

Bible notes author

The Revd Jonathan Mead

Jonathan is a Methodist minister, who works part time in the London NW Mission circuit and part time as a learning and development officer in the London District. He enjoys keeping fit, reading history and visiting Mediterranean destinations..