Fourth Sunday of Easter
1 Peter 2:19-25: For it is to your credit if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, where is the credit in that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
Summary – Peter’s first epistle was written to those who were suffering persecutions. It may be that it was written earlier than many consider and therefore reflects the persecutions surrounding Acts 7 or 12 (e.g., believing Jews scattered after persecutions arose in Jerusalem). The more conventional view is that these persecutions were part of the Neronian persecution which began 64 A.D. In the process of giving expectations to those under duress, Peter naturally moves to the suffering that Jesus experienced and shows as a model Jesus suffering without retaliation. These verses are some of the richest statements about redemption in the pages of Scripture. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”
Insight – Whatever the original setting, the principles Peter teaches are readily applicable. We cannot reason that because we are in a desperate situation, we can be unkind, revile, retaliate, or anyway take our own vengeance. That is exactly what we are tempted to do when someone comes against us. Whether it is an unkind word, a taunt, bullying, criticism . . . any of these things tempt us to respond with a desire of repaying evil with evil. But Peter provides the redemptive model and motivation. Jesus modeled for us a person who could receive harm without giving it back. Jesus simply entrusted Himself to the Father. But Jesus’s once-for-all suffering provides us with the freedom and the spiritual resources to never pay back evil for evil. Christ model became salvation so that we can live for righteousness and we have healing in Him. We do not need to get deliverance for ourselves or right every wrong done to us. God was take care of it and he is a much better at justice than we are: God “judges justly.”
Child’s Catechism -What did Jesus do for us? “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”
Discussion – Can you think of one person that has wronged you? How can you apply this call to not repay evil with evil in that situation?
Prayer – Almighty God, in this Eastertide, give us grace to endure all manner of light afflictions and troubling suffering(s) so that we may more fully appreciate the once-for-all work of the only Savior who brought healing to us through His stripes and Life indeed through His resurrection. May we walk in His steps so that we may ascend in His glory through His resurrection power. In His name above every name we pray. Amen.