Friday

1 Peter 2:21-25 Friday 16 August 2013


Background

Peter the apostle is generally believed to have written thisletter, to Gentile (non Jewish) Christians living in the region ofAsia Minor. The recipients seem, from the contents of the letter,to have been suffering from persecution for their faith. Peterwrites to encourage them, reminding them of the hope that Jesusbrings. Chapter 2 verses 18-25 specifically addresses slaves.

In the first part of chapter two Peter tells his audience thatthey are "a chosen race" (1Peter 2:9). He goes on to warn them to steer clear of sinliving such good lives that no one can an accuse them of wrongdoing(verse 12). He marries freedom and submissioninterestingly in verses 13-17 and in verse18 instructs slaves to submit gracefully to wrongful treatmentfrom their masters. Verses such as this have been used by theChristians in the past to justify slavery, which was a normalfeature of the Roman Empire. Elsewhere in the Bible masters aretold to treat their slaves well (Ephesians 6:9) and Philemon is told to lookupon his slave Onesimus as 'a beloved brother' (Philemon v. 16), however here Peter's focus isto encourage slaves to endure unjust suffering.

It is on this basis that we find today's passage, which startswith "to this you have been called" referring back to being calledto suffer graciously for doing good, as Jesus did. The point hereis not challenging the injustice, but the response of the victim toit.

Peter cites the example of Jesus as the main motivation. Theword translated "example" in verse 21 means 'writing under', as inan outline to trace over or copy, like when a child learns theirletters, or a sketch to fill in. "Follow in his steps" echoes thisidea.


To Ponder

  • As Christians are we primarily called to, and responsible for,the way in which we respond to injustice, or to challengeinjustice? Why? What was Jesus' way in this?
  • What do you think was the point of Jesus suffering injusticegraciously? What weight does the purpose outlined in verse 21have?
  • What do you think is the point of us suffering injusticegraciously?
  • How can the image of Jesus being an example as described abovebe applied to our everyday lives?
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