Be Unified

Be Unified

Lesson 13
1 Peter 5:6-14
The same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

As we reach this last lesson in 1 Peter, it is hoped that the theme which connects Peter’s original audience with a 21st century American audience has not been lost along the way.

Christianity at one time thrived with minimal opposition in the geographical areas where this letter went. As the letter went out, cultural, social, and political winds were blowing that had already had an impact on the comfort levels of Christians. Furthermore, a more severe situation, a fiery trial, was appearing on the horizon. That situation is similar to feelings Christians are familiar with in our own age, making 1 Peter a book relevant for today.

In the concluding words of 1 Peter, Christians are urged to find safety and solidarity in numbers, “knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” (1 Peter 5:9).

When Christians get pushback from the world over faith issues, Peter lists 10 ways we can respond.

Humble yourselves (a carry over from the last lesson)
Be assured of God’s promise of exaltation.
Cast cares and fears on a caring, mighty God.
Be aware, watchful, and alert to the devil.
Stand firm in the faith.
Remember that many faithful friends are enduring in the faith.
Be settled that sufferings are only for a little while.
Be motivated by God’s grace and of sharing in Christ’s eternal glory.
Allow Christ to restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Recognize that Christ has ultimate dominion forever.

Peter has his own friends with whom to stand in faithful unity: Silvanus who carries this letter, the church at “Babylon.” (likely, a reference to Rome, with historic echoes of persecution and dispersion), and John Mark.

Two concluding statements offer a unifying exercise and a salutation of unity:

Greet one another with the kiss of love.
Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

For enlightenment and discussion:

How many phrases can you find in this passage describing God in ways that lend encouragement to a persecuted or suffering person?

What do these words reveal about the devil: adversary, prowls, lion, seeking, devour?

Given the occasion for this letter – an encouragement for Christians to keep the faith in the face of present and building persecution – in what way is the letter’s doxology appropriate? “To him be the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”