In these insights I will be journeying through the five chapters of the New Testament book: 1 Peter which I believe is very helpful and relevant to modern Christian living with all its trials and temptations.
The Apostle Peter probably wrote the letter when he was in Rome around AD 65 as indicated by the code name ‘Babylon’ (5:13) and it is written with the help of Silas and contains greetings from ‘she’ and Mark. The letter contains the memories and teachings of Jesus. It is a powerful message of encouragement to scattered Christians who Peter never visited but they were aware of him.
Read carefully 1 Peter Chapter 2
The Lord is good (verses 1 – 3)
We all enjoy different types of food and when we think about spiritual food we can easily enjoy ‘junk food’ and not fully partake in the ‘pure spiritual milk’ of God’s word to mature and sustain us. When we think about how to grow the church it is not just about numbers in the pews. Real church maturity and growth stems from our nourishment in faith, trust and belief in the Lord who is good all the time. It is also very important as part of our faith and witness that we are ‘authentic Christians’ and not synthetic which would and does undermine the strength of the Gospel.
Question As young and maturing Christians, what does it mean to partake of pure spiritual milk?
A Chosen people and Living Stones (verses 4 – 12)
Jesus is the living stone whom the builders rejected. Today many non-believers see Jesus as having no relevance to modern living. Peter offers a doctrine of the church which can be likened to individuals who follow Jesus as living stones and exhibit a radiance of Christ without any shame of unbelief as found in Psalm 34: 5. In Jesus we have a living hope and purpose compared to those without faith who have a different mind-set and goal.
The church has three aspects to it as found in verse 5. A ‘spiritual home.’ To be a ‘priesthood of believers.’ To offer ‘spiritual sacrifices’ of praise and service to the Lord, the church and all our neighbours.
The church of God is full of redeemed people and ignored by the world but are precious and chosen by the Lord.
Without the living presence of God’s spirit in the church our relationships and activities will be like any ordinary club or movement. The Holy Spirit brings a difference to the church that is unique, compared to any human enterprise! As a ‘priesthood of believers’ we all have special access to God’s presence and understanding and we may act as a mediator between God and our neighbours. In our sacrifices of praise and worship we are examples of daily Christian living.
Question How can we live a priestly life in the midst of our everyday life?
Submission and Obedience (verses 13 – 25)
As strangers in this world we are asked to submit to those who rule over us. In doing and being good it may act as a stillness and silence to all the ignorant talk that exists in the world. In obedience and honour to God and those who rule over us we can live as a free person, showing love and respect to all peoples which is inclusive and diverse.
When we meditate upon the life of Jesus we are amazed how he was so willing to suffer unjustly for our sake. He is an example for us to follow when confronting are own suffering and persecution. We are called to submit, endure and be obedient.
We are all like sheep that have gone astray yet we have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls. A Christ centred community is a sharp contrast to a pagan society. In people’s quest for truth, Jesus is seen both as an obstacle and an attraction.
In our everyday life we may feel like an exile and a no-body but in Jesus Christ we are understood as a some-body.
Question How can we be both submissive and assertive in faith and community living?
Selah (Pause to carefully consider what you have just read)