Reading and going through 1 Peter is like watching a dramatic movie. The way Peter writes, he could have been a good movie director! 😀
This was Peter, the one who said he would never desert Jesus, the one who realized Jesus was the Messiah, the one who cowardly denied Jesus 3 times, and the same Peter who took on the leadership of the church in Jerusalem after Jesus reinstated him.
What kept him going and how do we see his concerns unfold in this short, yet powerful letter?
Some TIPS on How to Read
The author, Peter is no stranger to hardship and persecution. He had been flagged and imprisoned for his own faith, even expecting execution (see Acts 12)
Peter also personally watched Jesus endure suffering, and he points to Him as an example of how to respond…
Persecution and Suffering?
Is that supposed to happen when you become a Christian? That seems to be the case as you read 1 Peter.
Initially, the people being addressed in 1 Peter enjoyed the freedom and toleration from the Roman Empire, but eventually the government tolerated them no more. And persecution began amongst these Christians in Rome. Peter’s concern for the people here is the understanding of what it means to suffer in the large context of God’s purposes for His people. He was also concerned about how God’s people, saved by Christ, live in the midst of this.
So, as you read 1 Peter,
- Look out for all the sufferings that the people would have been going through. And then, look out for the 30+ commands that Peter gives to the people, in how they should live/be living.
- Think too about ourselves now. What are the kinds of the persecutions, pain and sufferings we face in our own lives? How does the Word of God here, teach and show us how we should live as we face all this?
- And finally, look at the suffering of Christ on our behalf for our sin. Also, look out for the hope we have in the future, because of what Christ’s achievement on the cross for us.
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
1 Peter 5:10
To suffer or not to suffer, that is the question…isn’t it?
Peter wrote to Christians, who were being persecuted, being punished and facing terrible suffering, all because of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He knew what they were going through and he wrote to encourage them. He wrote to sustain them and urge them to keep on going and to persevere.
How were they able to do this? What was their hope?
Their hope and foundation was found in theirs (and our) living stone – our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The reminder of being born to a living hope in 1:3-5 and also to be able to rejoice in this hope (1:6-9) sustained the believers at that time.
Is it possible to be living holy and pleasing lives to God, in the midst of persecution and suffering?
Yes, is the answer! And how did the people do that? It came about as believers live out of their lives in the community, and by being there to support and encourage one another, through all that they were going through!
Chapter 4:1-16, is an awesome reminder of arming ourselves with the attitude of Christ, whenever we feel we are being persecuted or suffering, because He has gone through all of it, the worst of it, all for the sake of paying for our sins on that cross. We may suffer for a while, but God will be able to sustain us, and we look for the future glory that is yet to come.
In view of all this, looking at some teachings our in the world, who claim to be Christian teachings, it’s quite obvious from God’s Word, that persecution and suffering will be part of the Christian life. What do you think about those claims that say Christians would not suffer nor be persecuted? Not just physically, but in many other possible ways. How are we able to reply to them, after reading 1 Peter now?
We may suffer because we are Christians. And even if that happens, we can rejoice and be glad, and be grateful and thankful to God that He has called and chosen us to be His people. (4:12-19)
What an awesome assurance this is!
“But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”
1 Peter 4:12-14