Peter, as a whole, throughout pretty much this entire passage, is talking about living godly in an ungodly world. Being cool in a not-so-cool society. And this version of “cool” is defined by not reacting with your first gut instinct to life’s daily curveballs. Like a pro in the majors, let the first pitch go by. Swing at the second.
Peter asks us to brush hypocrisy, slander and hate off our shoulders. Instead, take up humility and compassion lessons. Good for your soul.
However, these instruments aren’t like the popular guitar and piano. Nope, these are pretty much unliked and misunderstood. Often sitting on the shelf or in a pawn shop. Nonetheless, you need them if you want to be closer to God and further away from your old self.
Jesus wasn’t a popular guy. He just wasn’t. He undermined the status quo and the higher-ups didn’t like someone shaking up the religious economy. He ruffled feathers. You will also ruffle feathers if you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. However, don’t be all giggly and malicious as you ruffle. You do this for Him, so you better do it in style.
There is a bonus Peter tells us. Jesus, whom God placed as the cornerstone of our faith, is there for us like the perfect basket to put all of our eggs of trust in. Lean on Him and you’re not falling down. However, choose not to believe what He’s all about, and get ready for a fall.
Speaking of which, Peter says that many people, from the jump, were destined for that fall because they will never choose to believe. You and me? We are part of God’s chosen team. Maybe not the QB’s, but that’s cool. Pays the same no matter the position. And we’re good because we’re leaning on a solid column in Jesus. Unbreakable.
Peter mentions, as is a common theme I see in my travels throughout the Bible, that our souls are constantly being tugged and targeted and put through the wringer by Sin and temptation. While this is great for honing our faith and sharpening our godly wits, it is a struggle nonetheless for many. Despite all this, Peter calls for us to shrug it off and behave like Christians while we live amongst the pagans. This seems right on, because the best way to teach someone how to be right is to act right around them. Right?
Peter asks that we submit to earthly rulers as well, not as an act of worship, but as a testimony to the model behavior God’s people should portray.
‘Fear God, honor the emperor.” This pretty much means, “sure you’re under this dude’s thumb, technically, and should pay taxes or salute or whatever, but do this and everything else because you understand, praise, love and behold the awesome power of God.” And you should only want to do right by Him who did even more right by you.
Peter finishes this section by reminding us that Jesus never once retaliated back during the litany of unjust actions hurled against Him. Instead, he took the high road. Plus, even He believed that the judging and subsequent punishment for all those who wronged Him wasn’t for Him to decide. God has the ultimate gavel. He’s passing out the convictions…