World Conference 2023

1 Peter 2:19-25

30 April 2023

Exploring the Scripture

On this fourth Sunday following Easter, the message from 1 Peter upholds the challenge and importance of living a new life in Christ.

On the surface, this text sounds like a pep talk to encourage believers to live faithfully and to do what is right, even when suffering. Carefully listening to the text, these words call us to consider where strength and courage come from as we look to the life of Jesus and how he lived, died, and was resurrected for us.

To grasp this text’s significance, we must first understand this text in its first-century setting. Peter is writing to small communities of new Christians in a region we know today as Turkey.

This part of the author’s letter speaks to household slaves common in the Roman Empire. These slaves faced abuse and suffering from their masters for converting to this new movement known as Christianity.  Since Christianity was still a tiny movement, Christians did not influence the dominant Roman, Greek, and Jewish cultures. These new disciples of Christ were still learning how to live this new life as Christians and what it meant amid their intense suffering.

In his message, Peter encourages his readers to live lives modeled on what they learned about Jesus. For it was in the suffering Jesus endured that these slaves could find strength and freedom deeply in their souls. They could be assured that God was with them as they tried to make the right choices about how they lived.  

How do we hear this text today in our varied global cultures?

Understand this passage does not express any support for the acceptability of violence, abuse, and needless suffering. It does not support racism or permit to enslave others or treat others as being less-than. It does not promote that being abused, and suffering is the only way to receive God’s acceptance.

It does, however, challenge us to consider that in the life of Jesus and what God did through Christ on Easter, we have choices for how we live. In looking at how Jesus lived for all, we seek inner strength and peace to follow the peaceable one. To live a life modeled on the ethic of Christ’s peace is about restoring the abundant life Jesus came to make whole (Jn 10:10).

This text invites us to consider how we will live as disciples of the risen Christ. Will we allow ourselves to be enslaved by our fears of rejection of others because of our commitment to follow Christ? Will we allow derogatory words and acts to reduce our faith and hope? Or will we live with courage, hope, trust, and assurance in what God did through Christ on Easter and what God can and will do through our lives, today, wherever we live in the world?

In Christ, we can live an ethic of peace. As Community of Christ, we are on a journey of what it means to uphold and promote nonviolence in our world that models the life of Jesus. In this Easter season and the new life that is offered to us, the question of nonviolence and ending needless suffering is a journey that begins in our hearts and minds. Then we begin to live this way with others that allow the peace of Christ to be genuine in the world.

Project Zion Podcast

Co-hosts Karin Peter and Blake Smith consider how this week's scripture connects to our lives today.


Central Ideas

  1. The hope of Easter gives us courage and strength to live the peace of Christ in our suffering and joy.
  2. Jesus, through his suffering, lived a life that reflected God’s love. We are called to live that love and peace, even when we suffer from the injustices that affect human life worldwide.
  3. Living the ethic of Christ’s peace for all reflects our covenant to follow Jesus, the peaceable one.

Questions to Consider

  1. How does this text challenge you and your congregation to model the problematic choices and acts of Jesus, the peaceable one?  
  2. How do you see members of the congregation or people in your community or village reflecting the presence of peace, joy, and freedom, even in their suffering?
  3. When have you had to find the courage and strength to trust God amid your suffering and experiences of injustice?
  4. How does the hope of Easter continue to offer hope for how we live as disciples of the living Christ?


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