Duty of husbands and wives; suffering and reward: duty of elders.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time (I Pet. 5:6).
The danger of defecting in the face of suffering can hardly be overlooked since suffering is directly referred to in this letter sixteen times (1:11; 2:19-21; 3:14,17-18; 4:1(twice), 13,15,16,19; 5:1,10), as well as indirectly (1:6-7; 4:12-14). The Apostle Peter, author of this letter, could well recall his Lord's loving reminder: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren (Luke 22:32). This was a call to Peter for the future. When Christ spoke to Peter he was mature in his faith. There were many things he would learn. Some of these lessons would come easy and some would be hard. As Christ said concerning Peter, he needed to be converted.
When thou art converted. Before Pentecost, Peter was far from being a spiritual rock; he was a shifting compound of human loyalty to Christ and self-interest. “Not the Cross!” had been his advice to his Lord (Matt. 16:22). As Jesus went toward that cross of suffering, in obedience to His Father's will, He did so without Peter's encouragement. Peter's way of thinking would greatly change in the future. He was looking at the world through eyes of flesh. However, not long after this, his spiritual eyes would begin to open. He would begin to see the world as Christ knew he would when he charged Peter with those commands. Praise God that when He looks at each of us He sees the potential for what we can be. He does not just see who we are now. He looks deeper into the heart of each of us.
Through the years, Peter endured much suffering, many beatings, and faced execution at Herod's court (Acts 12:1-3). He then wrote to encourage and strengthen his dear brethren of Asia by reminding them: If ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled . . . . Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin (I Pet. 3:14; 4:1).
Peter knew from experience that witnessing for Christ would bring persecution and that they would be tempted to become silent and secret disciples. This subtle form of denying our Lord tempts God's people in every age. Peter had been there himself. However, the Holy Spirit and the Word of God have been his teachers.
Jesus warns us about whom to fear: Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him (God) which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt. 10:28).
Thought for the Day: The words that come from our mouth reveal what is really in our heart.
For I Pet. 3:10-12: See Ps. 34:12-16. I Pet. 5:5: See Prov. 3:34.
3:11 eschew, turn away from; ensue, earnestly pursue; 3:20 were saved by water, were saved from the water by entering the ark (that illustrates Christ); 4:15 busybody, one who interferes in other people's affairs that do not concern him.
Prayer Suggestion: Call upon the Lord, for He promises to answer you (Zech. 13:9).
Memory Verse for the Week: Luke 1:50