Second Peter seems to mark the end of an era—the end of the Apostolic Church. Peter mentions that his death was imminent (2Peter 1:14), so his second letter takes the genre of a final testimony, telling his readers what they should keep in mind, as they face the persecution that has come upon them. For this reason 2Peter has been compared with Paul’s 2Timothy, where both warn about the apostasy that should follow their deaths, and to look for the judgment that would follow at the coming of Jesus.
In his own letter Peter describes men who have crept into the church, who have not shouldered the responsibility believers should, and from these men would come the slanderous attack against the present church leadership, and the work of apostasy against Christ—denying both his coming and his being the Messiah. As the Church would face the future without the presence of Peter and Paul, we come to Peter’s final instructions.
In 2Peter 2:1 Peter describes himself as a servant or bondservant to Jesus, but also as one of Jesus’ apostles. The Greek word for servant is doulos (G1401), and according to Thayer’s Lexicon, it means someone who disregards his own will in favor of devoting himself to the will of another. Some New Testament translators render this word as slave. Peter is claiming he lives to do the Lord’s will, not his own, and writes to the people in Asia Minor as a demonstration of his service to the Lord. The word, apostle (apostolos – G649) according to Strongs’ Dictionary, means delegate or ambassador. A nation or any group of people (such as a church) could send its own delegate or ambassador to any nation or other group of people. Such a person would represent the authority that sent him. In the case of Peter, he was sent by Jesus, the Christ or Messiah. In other words, Peter’s epistle should be taken as having the authority of the Messiah.
According to 2Peter 1:1, believers of Asia Minor had obtained the same sort of faith that the Apostles had obtained. Many in positions of authority made a point of appearing more important than those who happen to be under their authority. This was not to be so among the disciples, of Jesus (Mark 10:42-45). Even the Jewish authorities modeled themselves after the way of the gentiles (cf. John 7:48-49). Peter claimed to be an apostle sent by Jesus, having and representing the authority of Jesus. Yet, just as Jesus, he came to them as a bondservant—to serve Jesus by being of service to the believers in Asia Minor.
Peter tells us that all believers had received their precious faith through the righteousness of God, our Savior, Jesus Christ—the believers in Asia Minor at the preaching of the apostles and evangelists, and the apostles at the preaching of Jesus. Nevertheless, no matter how dignified the preacher, the faith that was communicated to the one who received the message in his heart was the same as that of anyone else. It could be compared with a new, naturalized, citizen of the United States being given the same rights as every other citizen, no matter how long he or she held that citizenship.
Peter meant for the believers in Asia Minor to understand that they were as important to Jesus as the very chief of the apostles. When brought to maturity, their faith would be no less than any man’s, no matter who he might be. As servants of Jesus, believers are as Jesus was when he walked the streets of our world (cf. Luke 6:40). Remember, Jesus was rejected, and we cannot expect that our ministry will be greater than his (cf. Matthew 10:25). Nevertheless, there is great value in living and speaking as Jesus did, letting our Lord and Savior sort out the details of our service to him as Peter did (2Peter 1:1).