Reading: 1st Peter 2:19-25
Verse 20: “But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.”
This week’s passage from 1st Peter 2 is part of a section titled “Submission to Rulers and Masters.” Verses 13-18 provide some important context for our passage today. In these proceeding verses Peter encourages his readers to submit to “every authority” as they seek to live as “servants of God.” Doing so, Peter says, they will be living holy and righteous lives, shining a light into and onto the world. Continuing in verse 18 he encourages slaves to “submit to your masters with all respect.” This directive is to be followed whether the master is “good and considerate” or if they are “harsh.” (Side note: Although Peter was writing into the accepted context of his day, slavery in any and all forms is wrong.)
In our first verse for today, Peter describes the “bearing up” of “unjust suffering” as an action that is commendable when done “conscious of God.” There is unjust suffering in our world. There are people in parts of our world that suffer unjustly just as the audience of Peter suffered. And even in our “safer” parts of the world there is unjust suffering that occurs. It happens in our lives and in the lives of those we know and love. In verses 21-24 Peter reminds us that Christ suffered unjustly – for us. Here Jesus gave us an example to follow. In the suffering, Jesus did not retaliate. In the pain, he did not threaten. He chose to trust himself and his situation to the God who “judges justly.” Christ knew that one day all things would be made right. This is yet our promise too.
Peter points out that Jesus suffered for us so that we might “die to sins and live for righteousness.” Empowered by Christ’s example his readers then and us now can live with assurance, confidence, and hope. If you are suffering, draw upon these graces of God. If you know another who is suffering, come alongside them and offer these graces to them. Doing so we live by the example set by Christ. May it be so.
Prayer: Lord God, in the midst of pain and suffering, be present to us. Be our comfort to endure and our strength to walk in faith and trust. Use us to bring the hope and love of Christ to others who suffer. In these times, fill us with your Holy Spirit power so that we can bring your graces to bear in other people’s lives. Amen.