Today I want to launch into a series of posts on Peter’s ‘pastoral’ letter to early Christians. In five chapters, Peter weaves together a series of themes to encourage and challenge his audience. I want to proceed at a slow pace, memorize the text as I go, and share some of the insights God is teaching me.
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ – This is Peter’s role in Christ’s plan. Many years have passed since Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, invited Peter into a new career of ‘fishing for men.’ Peter left behind one chapter of his life, and began with Jesus a new adventure. There were highs and lows and Peter’s profile is often prominent through the gospel writings. “The LORD disciplines those He loves,” the Scriptures remind us. Peter must have been ‘loved’ tons by the LORD, because a number of his disciplinary discussions with Jesus are provided for our perusal.
Thank God for what He has taught you! Do you recall your earliest encounter with Jesus? Do you remember the way He gained your attention, called you to repentance and invited you to trust Him? What have you learned since that day? Perhaps it’s time to write down your testimony and testify to your experience of God’s wonderful grace.
To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia – Here’s a map showing the regions (now modern day Turkey) where the early believers had been scattered. God had ‘elected’ them. He had chosen them and called them (like Peter) into a living relationship with Jesus Christ. Why were they scattered? Persecution had been their experience and the theme of “suffering” shows up repeatedly through this letter.
Praise God, He knows who we are and where we are. God’s persecuted people throughout the world today and known and loved by Him. I’m sure books like I Peter provide comfort in times of distress and give hope that despite the horrendous experiences they have endured, the end of the story has not yet been written. Let’s pause today and pray for those whose stand for Christ has met with open hostility. Hebrews 13:3 exhorts us, “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”