The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. (Psalm 98:2-3)
God the evangelist. There’s a phrase that we don’t often hear on Sunday mornings. The idea that God who mercifully extends His grace—of which He is the source—also trumpets that message to the world somehow seems to escape us. We take the burden and responsibility for evangelism onto our own shoulders, but fail to look back at the exemplar for the proper way of performing the task.
God the Father announced His love through His chosen people. As His people put their depravity on display over and over, the message was confused. The Suffering Servant would leave no doubt. Christ made salvation known for all the generations that would follow. Our evangelism requires nothing but to display Christ to the world.
If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. (1 Peter 4:14-19)
Peter offers up a warning of sorts in relation to his previous exhortation on the value of suffering. Just as Paul corrected the misconception about grace and sin (Romans 6:1-2), Peter preempts the line of thought that suffering for the wrong reason (murder and robbery) cannot be viewed as divinely ordained. Persecution and struggle must be seen as divinely ordained for each of us as an individual as way purifying us and maturing our faith.
The evangelist in Peter sees a further meaning to suffering as an opportunity to model Christ-like lives for the benefit of the unsaved. He moves his readers to consider how much more difficult persecution and travail must be for those without the hope of Christ. To accept our challenge and continue on with our lives in love and obedience opens the door to see Christ for themselves.
How heavy is your cross today?