The Word This Week

1 Peter 1:1...

You would think the ministry of Jesus Christ and His followers would be universally received and welcomed by all people.

That is not the case, and never has been.

Jesus was hated by most people and was persecuted to death despite His great lovingkindness to every man willing to receive it.

If they hated and persecuted Jesus, you can expect the same as a follower of Christ.

This is the central theme of the Book of 1st Peter.

Here is Peter, a self-affirmed apostle of Jesus Christ, informing The Church of his day and ours to expect tribulation from the world.

This is so confounding to those who believe in Christ, because followers of Christ have laid down their weapons of offense and taken up the ministry of grace and mercy and peace toward everyone, even those who persecute.

These are very perilous times, rivaling our own. Emperor Nero rules in Rome and in his insanity has either burned the city or is about to, and a great wave of some of the cruelest waves of persecution have either begun or are about to.

This is the political environment 1st Peter is written to address. This is no time to fade away in the face of man-made tribulation, but to look up – as Jesus had commanded.

Truth cannot and must not be obliterated by persecution, no matter how grave. These are those who faced being burned alive, eaten by lions, or crucified for their belief in a gospel of peace and reconciliation. Paul would be beheaded. Peter would be crucified upside down. The Church would be hunted and harassed everywhere it existed.

In the face of this, Peter affirms the truth of Who Jesus was, and all He came to accomplish - just as the prophets had declared. You cannot kill those who will not die. The most any man can do is destroy our earthly frame – but no man can destroy our soul. In a very short time after writing this, Peter would personally taste all Nero’s Rome could mete out. But the ministry of Jesus Christ is not stopped or ended with the death of His saints, it is enhanced.

Pastor Bill