Like a good detective, let's examine this book.
While you could say Peter was the "ghost writer" for the Gospel of Mark, this letter is directly written by him. At this point, the church in Rome has begun to be socially persecuted for their faith. Peter is encouraging them to stand strong and not allow themselves to be intimidated by the crowds. Suffering and persecution would come but they are to stand strong. He was right about persecution coming. Within a few years, Christians would be rounded up and slaughtered in the Colosseum. Peter, himself, would be crucified upside down. However, at the time of the writing of this letter, those days had not yet come to the church in Rome.
🙏 Jesus in this Book
(Every book reveals the glory of God, revealed in Christ Jesus)
- The "Living Stone"
🔍 Things to Notice
- Peter talks about who we are in Christ... royal priests, a holy nation, God's special possession.
- Peter is the apostle who was always getting himself into trouble. Now listen he has learned so much about the faithfulness of God and the need to wait for Him.
- Know who you are.
- Endure persecution.
- Prepare for suffering.
- Stand firm.
- Lean on God.
Who wrote it: The Apostle Peter, penned by Silvanus
Martyred: Peter was a leader in the early church. When Rome burned in 64 AD, the Christians were incorrectly blamed. As a leader, Peter was targeted and killed. Legend says before being crucified he requested to be placed upside down. He requested this because he said he was not worthy to be killed in the same manner as his Lord. They obliged.
Who is the original audience: The church in Rome
Where are we: Possibly in Rome. Though not directly stated in the New Testament, it has long been thought that Peter spent his final years strengthening the church in Rome
When was it written: Likely 64 AD
What is the big idea: The persecution of the Christians under Nero is just starting to ramp up. Because of what is happening elsewhere in the world, Peter knows that simple social persecution is not going to be the end. More is coming and it will likely be coming soon. While there is no way of knowing if he understood just how bad it was going to get, God inspires Peter to prepare the church by understanding who they are in Christ.
Why is this book important: This letter is important because all go through persecution. If you lived in the United States, it is likely subtle and social. If you live in other parts of the world, it is likely public and forceful. The bottom line is the same, it's not fun. The goal is to focus on who you are in Christ and why you are being persecuted. Then, choose to "cast your anxieties on Christ because He cares for you."
How can I apply it?: When experiencing crises, who do you turn to? Peter likely realizes what is coming and is preparing the church to stand strong and to make sure their hope is founded on the truth of Christ's goodness. I don't want to be the bearer of bad news but bad days will come in this life. The question isn't IF but WHEN. What are you going to do? Are you going to be prepared? Is your hope founded strongly in the never fading hope of Jesus Christ? What next step will you take to make sure your hope is unshakable?
Quick Thoughts on Each Chapter
This is one of three “books” in the NT that are from Peter. The first two bear his name. The third is not as known. The Gospel of Mark was a collection of stories written down by Mark while translating for Peter in Rome! Amazing! In this letter, Peter is writing to Rome because persecution has begun. It is minor but it is building. Peter is reminding them and us of God’s glory and who we are in Christ.
If you have ever wanted to memorize a verse the encapsulates who you are in Christ, verse 9 is a good one! “We are a chosen people.” This means you were not God’s last choice. You are His first! “We are a royal priesthood.” This means we have been adopted into His family and we can be close to God! “We are a holy nation.” This means we are walking toward freedom everyday! “We are God’s very own possession.” We are not leftovers or throwaways. God sees you as precious and special!
God’s Word is so practical. It leads us in the closest and most complicated relationships we will experience. God’s Word also speaks about the hardships we face. I love that God’s Word does not shy away from the deep things. God is concerned about any area that concerns you.
Verse 8… “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other.” What an amazing goal in life! How much more joy would we have if our goal was to double someone’s joy and cut their sorrow in half.
Verse 7: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” If it is big enough to worry about, it is big enough to pray about. God wants us to talk to Him about all the things that weigh us down. What are you carrying that you need to bring to the feet of Jesus? That doesn’t mean we do not attend to our responsibilities. It DOES mean we don’t worry about them. We do our very best then trust God with the rest.