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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Called to Companionship – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Called to Companionship – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

The truth is, we will all fail to obey Christ fully and fail to love others in the ways in which we are called to love them—sometimes in minor ways, other times epically. But at the end of the day, it is neither our successes nor our failures that determine our witness to Christ and his unfailing love. It is our relationship with him, for we cannot share whom we ourselves don’t know, nor can we give what we ourselves don’t have. To this end, it is striking that there is no apparent role given to the apostles at this point to distinguish them from the other disciples. They are simply to be “with” him, for the whole foundation of their ministry rests on this companionship: on identifying with and being shaped in relationship to Jesus’ life and mission.

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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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The Heart of the Law – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

The Heart of the Law – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Jesus’ question to the Pharisees and Scribes serves not only as a challenge to those present, but also to us who, likewise, are called to know and reflect the heart of God to one another and in the world around us. Notice that he leaves no room for a middle ground: one either does good or does harm; one either saves a life or destroys it—and this in reference to a man whose condition was not life-threatening or even necessarily urgent. The uncomfortable truth with which we are confronted in this is that, in the face of suffering and human need, there is no neutral position. We either do good or we do harm; we either save a life or we destroy it—and the decision we make in this matter is the ultimate reflection of whether or not we have understood the heart of God’s law and are obedient to it.

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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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Put Out Into the Deep! – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Put Out Into the Deep! – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

This is what he wants for all of his disciples, to draw us into complete reliance on and trust in him. He wants for us to put out into the deep, to leave everything behind and surrender our whole lives to him—our hopes, our dreams, our wounds and weariness, all of it—in order that give all of himself to us. And in order to do that, he very often has to poke and prod at precisely those areas where we are most wounded, most weary. But he does not do so out of callousness; he does so out of love, so that he might pour his unfailing love into those areas of our lives and we might experience his abundant life.

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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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A Ministry of Healing and Redemption – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

A Ministry of Healing and Redemption – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

…the same ministry of healing, liberation and redemption to which Our Lord was called as Messiah and Son of God, is the same ministry to which we all are called as sons and daughters of God, a ministry that cares deeply and works endlessly not just for the spiritual well-being of the world around us, but also for its physical and emotional, because this is the heart of God and, as Joel Green reminds us progeny are meant to exhibit the qualities of their parents.

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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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Testing or Trusting? – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Testing or Trusting? – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

…it is important to note that this type of testing is not at all the same thing as struggling to trust in God’s goodness and faithfulness in the midst of darkness or difficulty. The Bible (particularly the psalms) is full of examples of faithful people crying out to the Lord as they try to reconcile their pain or suffering with what they’ve been told about God’s character…The difference is that, in doing so, they do not judge him a liar or unfaithful, though they may struggle with fears that this is true at times; rather they struggle to hold on, reminding themselves of his promises and calling to mind his past acts of faithfulness in their lives so that these might be a buoy of hope in the midst of the storm. Far from a lack of faith or testing to God, they ultimately witness to a depth of faith that is both exemplary and beautiful.

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