1 Peter 2:18-21
Recognize the Spirit: Narrative from Mark 3:13-35
“Peter,” Jesus called, “and Andrew Johnson; James and John Zebedee; Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James Alphaeus, Simon (the Zealot), Thaddaeus, and Judas Iscariot. You are my apostles.”
The pride of being selected filled each one of them, none more than Peter. They had all wondered what Jesus was doing all night up on the mountain, but once he came down with such a resolute mission focus, it was clear he had a plan for them.
“I’m calling you twelve to be with me that I might send you out to preach,” Jesus continued. “You will heal the sick, drive out demons, and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”
Peter couldn’t help himself. Turning to Andrew, he whispered, “What does this mean? I know we have been baptizing, but now are we going to go out on our own and confront demons? How in the world?”
The twelve followed Jesus in town to a house where they planned to share a meal. By now, such huge crowds gathered that they couldn’t do anything, even eat breakfast. Power came out of Jesus to everyone he touched as he healed the sick and drove out evil spirits. Yet even among the crowds, some stirred up controversy, led by those who felt disrespected when Jesus didn’t select them among the twelve.
“Jesus, have you lost your mind?” his brothers Joseph and James asked. “Who are all these people and what is this mission you think God specially selected you and your buddies for? Here comes mom now and she’s got a few things to say.”
Jesus turned to the crowd without indicating any need to defend himself from his brothers’ accusations, “Who is my true family, my mother, my brothers, my sisters? Is it not those who choose to do God’s will?”
That seemed to silence his family. As Jesus’ family turned to leave, the religious leaders took their turn, “What demon has possessed you, making you turn against the entire Hebrew law? Are you now serving Baal in driving out demons? What is this heresy that you bring to the people?” Turning to the crowds, these scribes appealed, “Can’t you see that a demon has filled this man with a Messiah complex? How many of these false Messiah’s must we expose?”
Jesus replied indignantly, “Explain this to me, you who instruct the people on the truths of God. How is it that Satan would turn against himself to drive out his own demons? Any kingdom that opposes itself will be destroyed, including your own. How is it that you feel justified imprisoning these people to the burdens of your tradition, only to rob them of their tithes and offerings and fill your own homes with luxury? The Spirit of the Almighty God exposes you, yet you turn against him to blaspheme the Holy One himself by calling him a demon! Is it not your turn to repent?”
The twelve watched attentively, knowing that they would face these same accusations soon and hoping they would possess the wisdom to answer like Jesus.
1 Peter 2:18-21. Reverent Submission
Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust su ering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you su er for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.
Unjust Treatment. I hate being yelled at. Honestly, I think I have a wound that goes back to when my mom used to yell at me. Even today, there are situations at work where someone yells at me. It’s unprofessional. When an authority over you yells at you, it’s abuse. When it is a peer, it’s out of place. When someone who reports to you yells at you, it’s just plain foolish. I can’t imagine being a slave and not having any means to respond when I’m being abused. Yet Peter commanded slaves to submit themselves to masters who are harsh. I know he also said to submit to masters who are considerate, but that seems easier. Harsh masters evoke a justified reaction. After all, what they are doing is abusive, demeaning or as the dictionary defines harsh: “cruel, severe, unpleasantly rough, jarring to the senses.” Jesus experienced injustice when his mother and brothers criticized him unfairly and the religions leaders attacked him unmercifully. Peter’s command challenges us to work on our spirit of submission.
Commendable Suffering. Peter described it as commendable when people “suffer because they are conscious of God.” He held up the person who “bears up under the pain.” I appreciate that Peter acknowledged the pain. When I am jarred by harsh treatment, I instinctively retreat into my shell and think evil thoughts about the one mistreating me. ‘Bearing up’ means “to endure something with tolerance or patience.” I don’t think Peter had in mind retreating into a shell or inflicting pain in return. Commendable suffering accepts the pain, considers the inflictor, and patiently endures. When I am conscious of God (usually with the help of friends) through suffering, I’m able to:
- Humbly accept criticism—the truth is God is working on my character. What can I learn or grow in in these situations to become more like Jesus? How does my character need to change?
- Consider how to help my adversary—God is working on their character, also. This applies whether they are a Christian or not. Something triggered their attack, however unjust it may be. They have their own wounds, insecurities, and issues. Prayerful response may help me to reach a deeper level in my relationship with that person. Through conflict I’ve seen my “adversary” become one of my best friends. If they realize how out of line they were (which most people do to some extent), there is an opportunity to reach out and connect with them.
- Praise Jesus—He is the example that we follow… and that is the topic of our next devotional!
Personal Application ____________________________
1. What insights did I gather from today’s devotional?
2. What decisions should I make?
3. How can I put into action what I’ve learned?
4. Share with another person what insight, decision or action you have taken.