Studies in 1 Peter

Weekly meditations taking us through 1 Peter

Have No Anxiety – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

Have No Anxiety – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

So where do we find the gift of living without debilitating anxiety? Many say the answer is right here in these few verses from Philippians: it is taking everything to the Lord in prayer. But that is only so if something far more fundamental has happened first: we have come to trust the Lord and his love for us and are confident that when we pray he always hears and always answers. This is the assurance of Peter who says “cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” Anxiety diminishes as faith increases.

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Clothed in Humility – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

Clothed in Humility – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

The word Peter uses which we translate “clothe yourselves” specifically calls to mind the tying on of a servants apron and Peter could not help but have in mind that moment at the last supper when his Lord tied on such an apron, knelt down, and washed his feet…This is the model of the humility that is meant to be the mark of Christian leadership: Jesus. We are to be like Jesus. We are to lead not by grasping and climbing but by stooping and serving. The humility we live is not found in thinking less of ourselves but, again as C. S. Lewis says, thinking of ourselves less.

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The Image of True Leadership – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

The Image of True Leadership – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

That image is captured in one word: Shepherd. Not a title of authority…but the humble role of one whose task is to serve the needs of those he oversees: to guard, protect, feed, and care for his flock…The shepherd is a servant of those whom he leads for their well -being. He lives with the sheep and is almost one with them. As Pope Francis has said, good shepherds always have “The odor of the sheep”.

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Rejoicing in Suffering – Mediation of the Studies in 1 Peter

Rejoicing in Suffering – Mediation of the Studies in 1 Peter

This confidence is captured in the beautiful last verse of our quoted passage: “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will do right and entrust their souls to a faithful Creator.” William Barclay tells us that the word we translate “entrust” is a technical term for depositing money with a trusted friend: “In the ancient days there were no banks and few really safe places in which to deposit money. So, before a man went on a journey, he often left his money in the safe keeping of a friend. Such a trust was regarded as one of the most sacred things in life. The friend was absolutely bound by all honour and all religion to return the money intact.” (Barclay, James and Peter, p.261) Then he adds this truth: “If a man entrusts himself to God, God will not fail him. If such a trust is sacred to men, how much more is it sacred to God.”

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Living For Christ’s Return – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

Living For Christ’s Return – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

…our Lord’s promise to come again is our great hope, the hope of the return of the king and the establishment of his kingdom right here on earth as it is in heaven. It is the promise that right and goodness, justice, love and mercy will prevail and that evil will be held to account. It is the promise that a life well lived is not in vain and that one lived for evil will not escape a verdict. That is, it is the promise that this life and how we live it really matters.

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Forgiven and Empowered – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

Forgiven and Empowered – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

In other words, when we come to faith and are baptized something really happens to us. We are not just forgiven and sent on our way to try to do better. Rather, we are truly freed from the grip of sin and empowered to live the life to which we are called. This, of course, is not to say that in the face of long habit within and allure or coercion without that it will be easy. It is not to say that we will not on many occasions fail. Rather, it is to say that failure is not final and success is sure if we but persevere and continually surrender ourselves to God’s grace.

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“That He Might Lead You To God…” – Meditation of the Studies in 1Peter

“That He Might Lead You To God…” – Meditation of the Studies in 1Peter

Clearly this is what is asked of us in baptism, a wholehearted “Yes” to the question, “Will you live for him who died for you?” It is a pledge we can renew each time we enter church, dip our fingers in the baptismal waters, and make the sign of the Cross. It is a pledge we can renew every morning as we rise from bed and every night when we retire. Isn’t today is the perfect time to make the intentional renewal of your commitment to follow and obey Jesus, the renewal of your baptismal pledge, a regular practice of your daily life? Be assured that as you draw close to Him, He will draw close to you.

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The Shepherd and Guardian of Our Souls – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

The Shepherd and Guardian of Our Souls – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

Jesus is the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls. In him, in his living presence with us even now, all the affirmations of Psalm 23 become incarnate and are fulfilled. The Lord Jesus is our Shepherd and we shall not want. Jesus makes us lie down in green pastures and leads us beside still waters. Jesus restores our soul. Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Jesus is with us, comforting us with his rod and staff. And, because of him, we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. This is no wishful thinking; it is the experience and sure hope of untold multitudes of those who, over the last two thousand years, have heard and recognized the Shepherd’s voice and followed Him.

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Servants of God – Eighth Meditation in the Studies of 1 Peter

In particular, I think we must realize the contrast between what God through Peter calls us to and the behavior we too often fall into as Christians in a newly hostile or indifferent environment. Our response all too often vacillates between belligerence and withdrawal, between anger and despair, between our own forms of attack–scorn and defamation–and playing the role of the victim. Of course, all of this comes from fear, but that is no excuse. God’s people must behave as God’s people even, or especially, in the moment of greatest challenge.

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