Monday 11 September 2017

Bible Book:
1 Peter

“Even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed” (v. 14)

1 Peter 3:13-22 Monday 11 September 2017

Psalm: Psalm 77


Having already considered the personal and family relationshipsin yesterday's passage from Matthew's Gospel, wemove on to consider in this letter what it means to the individualto become a Christian and, for that matter, part of the Church.

It is not easy for us to realise fully the isolation of thepeople to whom the letter was written - people who were living forthe most part in a pagan society. Harvey in his Companionto the New Testament (Cambridge, CUP, 2004) suggests that itwas possibly even a criminal offence to practise the Christianfaith at that time; although it is not thought that charges wereoften brought, so it seems that Peter is encouraging the people tobe strong and of good courage. He is encouraging the people tocarry on doing good on behalf of Christ, not allowing themselves tobe intimidated, and being prepared to justify their actions bypointing to Jesus.

Peter uses the example of Jesus to encourage his readers - theway in which Jesus never turned his back on the journey he wastravelling, how he was prepared to suffer and even to go to hisdeath to bring about the change necessary so that people could knowGod as God would wish to be known. In these verses, Peter isencouraging vulnerable people to be brave and strong, not to shutthemselves away for protection but to be prepared to be people ofaction - not to be intimidated by words of abuse but in the wordsof the hymn to 'Stand up, stand up for Jesus'. Verse 21reminds the reader that it is their Baptism in water which savesthem from ultimate defeat from whatever the world has to offer: hemight have concluded with the words 'be not afraid, I go before youalways'.

To Ponder

  • To what situations in the world today, and particularly in ourpart of the world, would it be necessary to write such words?
  • To what extent is there a danger these days when fewer andfewer people would claim to have any religion, for believers toshut themselves away from the world and close the doors rather thanbe a caring evangelical force in the community. What might yourresponse to this be?
  • What examples from the Scriptures would you choose to encouragepeople whose faith has enabled them to take risks without beingafraid, even though it might lead to suffering? And how do theysupport you?
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