Jesus said that at least part of his commission in coming into the world was to kindle a fire on the earth (Luke 12:49a). This was said in the context of his coming in judgment upon his disciples (Luke 12:22-48), and in the context of his own crucifixion (Luke 12:50) or judgment at the hands of men. The fire of which Jesus spoke was the fire of suffering (judgment), for some, it means being persecuted for righteousness. Jesus seems to say that this fire of judgment is already lit (Luke 12:49b; cf. 6:11; 11:53), in that he was already being persecuted (John 5:16), which would culminate in his own death. Moreover, if Jesus was persecuted, it follows that anyone who claims to be his disciple would also be persecuted (John 15:20; cf. Luke 12:45). Therefore, in his first epistle Peter sought to encourage the believers in Asia Minor, concerning their present condition and how that condition served God’s purpose, and, not only so, but he also shows that judgment would come to their persecutors.
Tag Archives: persecution
The phrase, the end is at hand, or one similar to it has become one of the most used phrases in the mouths of the cynics to show the Bible is merely a book composed by men. If this could be preached throughout the 2000 year history of Christianity, how could anyone take the return of Christ seriously? How could anyone take Scripture seriously, when those named as its composers were so wrong about the return of Christ in the first century AD? Certainly, it is claimed by the cynic, the New Testament shows Peter and Paul not only expected Christ to return in their expected lifetimes, but these men, unquestionably the leaders of the Jesus movement in the first century AD, predicted it. And, the accusation is: “They were wrong—pure and simple!” Read the rest of this entry »
The idea of suffering comes with a mixed bag of beliefs or practices that one has gotten and retained from being taught as a child and growing up in traditions coming from society. For example, if one has given himself over to be an athlete, he might have heard it said: “It isn’t working unless it hurts!” That is, if one is really interested in the prize, one must endure suffering along the way. This, of course, is also the goal of military discipline. So, suffering, although negative in tone, is often pursued in order to gain a desired positive goal. Jesus had a goal in mind, and he knew suffering was the only path to take in order to achieve that end. Therefore, he embraced the way of the cross, not because he enjoyed suffering, but because it was the only way of attaining the end for which he was born (John 18:37; cf. Luke 12:50; 22:15). The believer is called to follow Christ and, according to Peter, suffering has its place in the believer’s way of life. Read the rest of this entry »
Jesus told us that, if someone struck us on our right cheek, we should then offer the other (Matthew 5:39). Isn’t that inviting persecution? Not really! It no more invites persecution than saying: “Don’t kill Bill” invites someone to kill Bill. All Jesus meant was, if what we do for him causes some to treat us unjustly, don’t cease from doing the good, simply because some are opposed to what we say and do. Jesus simply meant that we should be ready to receive insults in order to spread the Gospel. As Peter writes to believers in Asia Minor, it seems the persecution being conducted there revolved around malicious slander (1Peter 2:12; 3:10, 16). The unbelieving Jews seemed to be trying to get followers of Jesus into trouble with the gentile authorities (cf. Acts 13:50; 14:2; 17:5-9; 18:12-13). Read the rest of this entry »
In 1Peter 3:8 Peter tells his readers to be of one mind. However, this is in the context of being of one mind with the believers’ enemies. This suggests a meaning of the believer seeking to understand the motives of those who seek to him harm. With this in mind, we shouldn’t be intimidated with the same fear that directs the thoughts and behavior of those who oppose us (1Peter 3:14b). The question arises, then, what did Peter’s readers’ enemies fear? I believe we are able to answer this question by reading the Scripture that Peter seems to refer to in his epistle. Read the rest of this entry »