Thursday, August 23, 2012

1 Peter 2

We are the chosen people. It is the most often misunderstood aspect of the Bible. The two testaments of the Bible tell the same story. In the Old Testament God is forming a people for Himself. These people are identified as descendants of Abraham through Issac and Jacob. The entire Hebrew Bible is the hammering process necessary for the formation of this people. The people were to be special, chosen and a beacon of light to the rest of the world. The "light to the Gentiles" and the "blessed to be a blessing" aspects of this people were the most frequently neglected.

Move to the time and ways of Jesus and we find that God is still forming a people for himself. Instead of forming a people through the ties of blood and family history in the New Testament God is forming a people through the ties of choice and baptism. In the new covenant we choose to be followers of Jesus and through baptism are marked as his sons and daughters. Once we were nobody . . . now we are somebody.

Among the more controversial aspects of 1 Peter 2 is the admonition to "honor the emperor" (17) and to endure suffering when we have done the right. In many ways the understanding of changing the world through non violent methods can be found here. Like Jesus, when we are abused and beaten for doing what is right we do not retaliate -- we bless. We do not curse -- we pray for the persecutor. We strive to live good and godly lives in all areas of our existence. Remember that the context of 1 Peter is a time of significant persecution of Christ followers in Asia Minor and that the first readers of this letter would have been enduring great difficulties and struggles through these persecutions. The advise of this letter is to hold on, trust God, and be like Jesus.

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