For the corresponding sermon to this scripture passage, listen here: http://crossview.info/sermons/2014_06_01.mp3
Today’s Scripture Focus: I Peter 2:1-10
I Peter was written in the tradition of Simon Peter, one of the original apostles. Apostles were disciples of Jesus who, due to their eye witness accounts of Jesus resurrection from the dead, were called to lead the early church. I Peter was written at a time when the church was becoming increasingly Greek, and its readers would have begun to face rejection and social isolation from their communities. This was due in part to the new life they adopted after baptism, which forbid them from participating in pagan festivals, meals, and business practices. It was also due to rumors being spread about this new sect, primarily surrounding the Lord’s Supper.
Peter had two primary assistants—Mark and Silas ( or “Sivanus” in Greek, 5:12). Mark, relying on Peter’s first hand accounts, wrote his gospel. Silas served in a similar fashion for Peter’s epistles. Silas was also an assistant to Paul. Since I Peter was likely written from Rome, it is likely that Paul and Peter were in Rome at the same time. Silas may have served as a scribe and courier, going back and forth between to two. In any event, there are a lot of parallels and corresponding themes in I Peter and Ephesians. Peter and Paul likely borrowed from each other as they wrote to the churches they oversaw.
The main theme of I Peter is growing in grace when faced with rejection. At first, followers of Jesus were treated well by the Romans. Scripture portrays Roman soldiers and officials as sympathetic to Jesus, Paul, and early Christians. However, as the church grew among Gentiles, local commerce and social life were often disrupted. Baptism became frowned upon, as it marked a departure from normal customs to something new. How should the Christians in Asia Minor handle the shunning and verbal abuse they were receiving at the hands of their families and neighbors? Should they try to compromise, and maintain some of their old ways?
On the contrary, Peter instructs these Christians to keep being different! In the early church, new Christians were dressed in white robes at baptism and given milk to drink. These were symbols that they were new babes in Christ. I Peter 2 reminds the Christians that they were born to something new in Christ, and must reject the old ways of gossip, lying, and cheating. They are to remember that Christ was also rejected by humanity, but was accepted by God as precious. In the same way, when the world rejects followers of Christ, we must remember that God has set us apart as most precious. He calls us holy.
- Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
- Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
- Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.
Have you ever faced rejection in your family, workplace, or community? How did you handle it? In light of today’s scripture, how should Christians handle rejection by the world?
Is there anything in today’s scripture that especially speaks to you?
What questions would you like to ask about today’s scripture?