Following Jesus in a fragmented world (Part 3) 1 Peter 2:11-3:12

These notes in PDF form

Peter has established that we are chosen, exiles and foreigners, that we are priests, and that our lives are completely tied up with Jesus. So now he wants to address how we live.  What is our relationship to the organisations of power and people around us who do not share our faith.  His answer seems to be respect. Most of us get quite upset when we feel we are not being respected. When was the last time you felt that you weren’t respected ?

Peter writes “Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. “

Who are the people that we are most likely to show respect to ? Who are the people that we are least likely to show respect to.

Does this apply to politicians ? Elections ? Those that are poor ? How can we show respect ?

Peter seems to focus on “those who are at risk of experiencing oppression from authorities rather than those who actually exercised authority “ (Schreiner) Why do you think Peter might do this ? Why write to the people who don’t have power ? What power do they have ?

It is a sad fact that some of these verses have been used in the past (and sometimes in the present) to prevent groups moving towards liberation from oppressive conditions.  Early Christianity was unusual in the freedom and equality it sought to grant to people who were being oppressed. In a very patriarchal society women were treated as equals.   We have not always continued this way.  How might we repent ?

Remembering that the Roman empire is in a pick-on-Christians mode – Peter has a strong emphasis on showing others near you what god is like through your good deeds (2:12,2:15, 3:1-2). He wants their behaviour to demonstrate the good news of Jesus. Who are the people around you ? How could you demonstrate this ?

In the middle of this Peter connects their ‘unjust suffering’ with Jesus’ example of suffering for us. In the West we are less familiar with suffering (more comfortable). Can you connect your suffering with that of Jesus ? In what ways ?  

Peter speaks of the advantages of likemindedness. What does that look like in a community ? What does it look like in you ? How do we develop it?

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