Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 1Pet 2:13-17
Now we are into the meat of scripture.
Jesus was tempted in every way that is common to man but He never gave in to sin. Heb 4:15 The question for us is,
Are you going on with Jesus?…
…The way goes through Gethsemane, through the city gate, and on “outside the camp” (Heb 13:13). The way is lonely and goes on until there is no longer even a trace of a footprint to follow— but only the voice saying, ‘Follow Me’” (Mat 4:19). -Oswald Chambers- “My Utmost for His Highest” Sept 19
While temptations common to man lean towards sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these…Gal 5:19-21 The temptations of Jesus were along the lines of failing to fulfill His divine purpose. Mat 4
And being in agony he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Luke 22:44
As we previously stated, Peter begins this chapter with the importance of new believers desiring pure spiritual milk regarding our adoption as children of God. We must know this beyond a shadow of a doubt or we remain weak, immature and an easy target for the enemy. The goal is to grow in knowledge and strength. This requires moving from milk to meat. Spiritual meat begins with a deeper and ongoing revelation of who God is as well as the absolute genius and perfection of His will and plan. Then comes the harder realities that attend our being conformed by Him so that one day we will be glorified. Rom 8:29-30
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Rom 8:16
Accepting and appropriating our position as adopted children is hard enough for some of us. That we shall reign as kings and priests Rev 1:6 Rev 5:10 is just plain surreal. Still, others receive both with apparent ease as if everything is finished. Yet how many truly consider Paul’s words “provided we suffer with him” as the qualification of our future authority?
INDEED, ALL WHO DESIRE TO LIVE A GODLY LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS WILL BE PERSECUTED, 2 Tim 3:12
1Pet 2:13-17 is a template for what that persecution and suffering might look like. The context of these verses is the persecution of Christians under the Roman Emperor Nero. We aren’t certain if Nero set the fire or was simply one of the first to “never let a crisis go to waste”. In any case, he blamed the fire that destroyed a majority of Rome on Christians who used it to justify feeding them to lions and mounting them alive on poles then setting them on fire to light the streets and gardens of the city. It is Emperor Nero that Peter is honoring in Rome before being crucified. It is Emperor Domitian that Peter is honoring prophetically as the sojourners to whom he is writing in Asia Minor will experience a similar fate in just twenty years. It is to us today that Peter is writing.
For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should silence the ignorance of foolish people.
It is not only at the hands of government entities that we are called to suffer, but injustice period. Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust… ….if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps... 1 Pet 2:18-25
At no point did Jesus ever fight back or instruct others to fight.
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep amid wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves”… …”A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household”… Mat 10:16-28
Jesus conquered sin and death through submission and suffering. We are heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Future suffering looks like Rev 12:11
And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
and Rev 13:10
If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes, if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain.Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.
Still, I wonder if it is a temptation that is common to men like me or a temptation of Jesus to fight back. What would I have done if my friend were beheaded like John the Baptist? Mat 14 What would I have done had I witnessed the abuse of Jesus at the hands of Roman soldiers? Mark 15:16-20 What would I have done if I were Peter with a sword in the Garden of Gethsemane? John 18:10 Jesus made it clear that He could fight back.
Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” Mat 26:52-54
But Jesus said,
“No more of this!” Luke 22:51
Did Jesus sweat great drops of blood Luke 22:44 because He was afraid and tempted to deny Himself and simply quit? Or was He restraining the temptation to pour out His wrath as the demons asked before the time? Mat 8:29.
I could be wrong. But I suspect it was the latter.
Please don’t misunderstand. I do not believe that Jesus called us to lay down our lives in consent to evil. It is never a question of if we should fight. It is a question of how we fight. Jesus called us to speak the gospel truth and endure whatever comes as results. Peter wasn’t crucified for honoring Nero. He was crucified for adhering to his previously stated resolution to obey God rather than man. Acts 5:27-29 If when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. I don’t know about you but the only way I can be sure that I will not lash out like Peter or worse when the moment of truth arrives is to be sure that I walk according to the spirit and not after the flesh. Rom 8:5-8
How do I do that?