1 Peter 4:7-19 / Read
“The end of all things is near.”
This passage begins with a strong and sobering statement. Peter may have meant the end of the world as we know it in conjunction with Christ’s promised return (see Matthew 24:27-31, John 14:1-3, Acts 1:10-11 among others) or the inevitable death everyone must face in the body. Either way, his point was that Christians should live in the reality that life is short and they will soon be face to face with Jesus.
All of this is only as significant as our answer to this question: Who is Jesus to me?
Before going any further with this passage, take time to reflect on that question and record your answer. Be as honest and specific as you can. It may be helpful to consider your thoughts, speech and lifestyle when answering the question.
After doing so, consider: Is there anything that God might be saying to you based on your response?
In vv. 7-11, Peter offered some specific ways his audience should live in light of Jesus’ identity and their impending end: be alert, be sober-minded, love other people well, be hospitable and serve others with the gifts God had given them.
To what degree is your life marked by these attitudes and actions? In which of these do you sense God inviting you to grow? What might that look like for you?
Remember that this letter was written to 1st-Century Christians who were undergoing difficulty and persecution because of who Jesus had become to them. They revered him as Lord and God, as the Judge of the world and as their Savior. The had oriented their lives around him and his way of living.
Peter wrote to encourage these early believers that they should not be surprised by suffering for their belief in Jesus - in fact, they should rejoice in it.
Re-read vv. 12-19. What do you think it means to find joy in suffering for being associated with Jesus and living obediently to his commands?
What might it look like for you to suffer for Jesus? Is it something you tend to embrace or avoid? How do you sense God leading you share in the sufferings of Jesus in order that you might know him deeply and his love more fully?