I Peter 5:1 – II Peter 3:18
We are in the Church Stream reading from the New Living Translation.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Jesus, you talked to Peter, you talk to us. Thank you for this great fellowship and learning. The people of your Temple are your Temple. We are where you dwell, and we are grateful to be the house where you live. Amen.
Today we completed Peter’s first and second letters. This is the final word from this boisterous and beloved apostle. He died a martyr’s death in Rome. The last weeks of his life he was so overcome with joy in Jesus, [though held under guard in prison] that he led dozens of others to Christ [we were told 49] and he baptized them. He was a voice of heaven that intercepted people condemned to die. My husband and I were blessed to be in Rome and see all these quarters where Peter was held, where he wrote his final writings, and where he was executed. [heavy sigh] The next we hear from him straight up will be when we meet him at the gate of heaven. Maybe he will take us for a walk on the Crystal Sea . . .
I Peter 5 – Peter’s heart for pastoral care really comes out here. He urges the elder ones in the church to care for the younger and remain tutorial in tone and demeanor; don’t act put out as you care for others. As for the younger, pay attention and be teachable, honoring those above you. Keep alert. Nero’s recent edict against Christians has Peter to give illustration of the devil prowling like a lion to devour Believers. This was all too real for the young and persecuted church. Peter urges all to hang on and endure. The suffering would end soon. He sends greetings from a sister church “here in Babylon”. Peter was in Rome and equating it with the legendary Babylon that was equally pagan.
II Peter 1 – Peter greets his friends in the churches and then encourages them to grow in the faith. The qualities he wants us to add to our character are listed in perfect order. You can hear the love and faith Peter has hoping we grow in grace as we hang on to Christ. Peter is so very endeared to all those he cares for. Peter ends the chapter urging the flock to keep attentive to scripture. It’s real, true, authentic, it’s what we can rely upon. Peter clearly recalls the experience on the mount with Jesus when Moses and Elijah appeared and God spoke. This is as real as it gets. It changed Peter forever, and it changes everything for us too. God’s servants don’t die!
2 – Jesus, and Paul, and now Peter is warning about false teachers, liars, charlatans, wolves in sheep’s clothing coming into churches to take advantage of Believers. They are hucksters, thieves, adulterers, sinners, users, losers and they need to be identified, rooted out, booted out. The Devil is their motivation and they have no place in the church. Left to abide among you, their selfishness will destroy what is good among you. This chapter sounds like the book of Jude – another stern warning we will read the first week of December.
3 – a chapter about God’s timing: some are questioning if Christ is returning. According to when Peter is writing, it’s been 38 years since Jesus ascended into heaven. The scoffers were saying Jesus hasn’t come back because He isn’t coming back. These same scoffers are ignorant of creation, the flood, ignorant of Christ, God’s timing and the peculiar thing is that they enjoy the ignorance. They’re “willfully ignorant” as one translation says. Peter warns of this problem; these people. God isn’t slack, He’s forgotten nothing. He doesn’t use our clock. If you perceive a delay and God is indeed “delaying”, He’s delaying so that there is more time for people to repent and find Christ. That’s a good thing. Peter reminds us to not be thrown off by those apostate ones – they are going down. You remain holy in Christ, in the Word, and in fellowship.