Today’s reading includes two letters written by the church father and Apostle, Peter.
The first letter seems to focus on the idea that, as followers of Jesus, we may have to endure quite a few trials. In three different places (2:19-20, 3:17 and 4:12), he connects the idea of going through some suffering for the sake of Christ. In a nutshell, he is saying, expect it and be strong through it. A theme of I Peter is spiritual strength and stamina. He makes his applications in very practical ways, dealing with marriage and political/legal situations.
A few of my favorite verses from this book are:
1 Peter 1:13-14 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 3:15 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
And one of my favorites as a pastor….
1 Peter 5:2-4 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
II Peter has a different focus. In this letter, he is concentrating on the idea of growing our faith. The directing verse is found in the end of the book: 2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The necessity of this growth is because of the evil that will lurk among us. There will be people who will try to change things up, switch around what we know to be true. Peter says that we should be aware of these guys and keep an eye out for them. If we are strong in our faith, we will not be fooled, and we will not be punished like they are going to be.
I really like his reminder/encouragement: 2 Peter 3:14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.
Good stuff from The Apostle.
Tomorrow, we hit it big, covering four books. Hang in there, just a few days left to complete the Quest!