Reading for Thursday, Feb. 23: 1 Peter 2
V2 alludes to one of my favorite refrains from the Psalms: “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” (Psalm 34.8). Peter reminds us that if we have indeed tasted the goodness of God, we should willingly put away bitter tasting indulgences such as malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander (2.1).
In verse 9, Peter gives us one of the most beautifully descriptions of the people of God in the Scriptures: “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.” In the ancient world, priests were mediators of the divine, showing the world what their god looked like. Under God’s New Covenant with humanity, He calls for Himself a kingdom of priests to bear witness to his holiness. The church is identified as God’s “new” chosen people — a people who were once alienated FROM God who now live as aliens and strangers FOR God (2.11).
Toward the end of chapter 2, Peter turns to a familiar theme: the role of submission in the life of the believer. He begins with an exhortation to “be subject” or “submit to every authority instituted among men,” (2.13), a point we covered in our discussion of Romans 13 last week. V15 reminds us that we can overcome the “ignorant talk of foolish men” by simply doing good. In freedom, we should strive to show proper respect to others, loving our brothers in Christ, fearing God, and honoring our governing authorities (2.17).
The submissive example of Christ is held up for us in v21, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” As in all things, Jesus demonstrates the ultimate example of submission, even to the point of suffering. As He prays in the Garden, “Father, not my will but yours be done.” I believe our lives are determined by whether or not we’re able to pray that same prayer. Will I submit myself to God and His will for my life? Or will I continue to go my own way?
Peter closes this chapter by referring back to Isaiah 53, both in the reference in v22 (“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth,” Isa. 53.9) and in v24 (“…by his wounds you have been healed,” Isa. 53.5). With each of these references, Peter reminds us of the atoning sacrifice of Christ — the ultimate demonstration of submission to the will of God. This submissive spirit and subsequent death qualifies Jesus to be the “Shepherd and Overseer of your souls,” (1 Peter 2.25).