1 Peter 3:1-7
Seeing Beauty in People: Narrative based on John 8:12-20
“Judge not, and you will not be judged. Your judgment is flawed because you judge by human standards. Only God is flawless in his judgment. My judgment comes from my Father.” The disciples watched intently as Jesus answered the accusations of the Pharisees in the hearing of all the people.
Suddenly, two Pharisees dragged a woman caught in adultery before Jesus. Peter turned to Andrew and whispered, “Look at that pathetic whore! How dare they bring her before Jesus?”
The Pharisees stood her up in front of Jesus, “This woman was caught in the act of the adultery. Moses said to stone her. What do you say?”
Jesus bent down and wrote in the sand.
The awkward silence weighed heavily on the entire crowd, especially the Pharisees. The disciples whispered to themselves, “why did he write that?”
One of the disciples looked closely and replied, “I think it says, ‘God makes us beautiful.’”4 The Pharisees continued their accusations, “Do you ignore this woman’s adultery? How dare you call this sinner beauti- ful. Are you standing in judgment of Moses?”
Calmly and deliberately, Jesus straightened up and replied, “Let the one who is without sin be the first to throw a stone.” Silence. The crowd began to clear. Jesus turned to the woman and asked, “Where are your accusers? God has forgiven you, now let him make you beautiful again.”
(4. Obviously, this is my interpretation of the story—see Zechariah 9:17 )
1 Peter 3:1-7. God Makes You Beautiful
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Without Words. We’ve probably heard St. Francis of Assisi’s famous line, “Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words.” That idea must have come from 1 Peter 3. When we want to win over someone who knows us well, it won’t happen by preaching to them or telling them what to do. A wife who nags her husband into obeying hasn’t really won him over. A husband who does not believe in Jesus may not listen to the wife’s testimony, but he can’t ignore her purity and reverence. Purity preaches the message of a singleness of life—one who only lives for God. Reverence illustrates an awe and submission to God. That dual combination preaches a more powerful gospel than 10,000 words. Do you have a friend or family member who won’t listen to you? Try preaching the gospel of purity and reverence.
Inward Adornment. It’s amazing how much time, money, and effort we spend making ourselves look good (both men and women!). Some women spend hours at the hair dresser to get that right “do” and then days in the mall to put together their wardrobe with all the accessories. Some men obsess to buy the finest clothes, the fly-est shoes, the most popular fragrance, to attain the hippest possible look. We agonize over a few pounds of extra weight, or the natural effects of human aging. Yet when we spend more time or money on our outward adornment than we do investing in our inner spiritual life, we are out of balance. How is our inner self doing? If we feel troubled, anxious, insecure, or tempted, do we take the time to get the help we need from God and people to allow God to make us beautiful? Peter challenged the women to put on a gentle and quiet spirit—not being too pushy trying to control things; not intent on getting our way; not talking incessantly to bully our listeners into our will—but inwardly adorned with the power of the Holy Spirit, a trust in God, and a beauty that comes from him.
Great Worth. Peter called these women to make an investment in something far more valuable than their outward appearance. He didn’t expect them to never again be tempted to fear and control a situation. Instead, he challenged them to turn to God to overcome their fear so they could submit to God and trust that he will bring his outcome in their life. Only when a woman trusts God can she submit to a man. Otherwise, the submission is conditional or blind. A woman who truly trusts God will know that God has his hand on that man who she trusts. God will protect her because her hope is not in that man but in that God. Somehow Sarah could call Abram, “Lord”—she demonstrated a complete submission despite his failings (lying, giving her away to a local king, etc.). Her original name, Sarai, meant quarrelsome. When she trusted God (and therefore Abraham), she became Sarah, meaning princess. The quarrelsome, insecure, Sarai refused to give way to fear and therefore she became recognized as Sarah, the princess. Her submission made her daughter of the King of the universe! God made her beautiful!
Consider Carefully. Peter’s instructions to husbands focused on being considerate, which means to be “careful not to cause hurt or inconvenience to others.” What woman wouldn’t love to have a husband who is that “full of care” for her? Peter left no room for disrespect, neglect, abuse, or even looking down on a woman who might have a physical condition that made her weaker. Peter considered a wife to be a “partner” and fellow “heir” of God. God considers the wife a princess, since she is the child of the King of the universe. Neither Peter nor God tolerated mistreatment. What father would allow his daughter to be mistreated by some inconsiderate husband? Peter warned the husband: if he failed to be considerate to a King’s daughter (his wife), he better consider carefully how that would impact his relationship with the King; “so that nothing will hinder your prayers!”
Personal Application ____________________________
- What insights did I gather from today’s devotional?
- What decisions should I make?
- How can I put into action what I’ve learned?
- Share with another person what insight, decision or action you have taken.