By JANA HENRY|CONTRIBUTOR
In week 8, Peter continues exhorting Christians concerning their attitude and behavior towards outsiders: this time the focus is on the relationship of a servant to a master. Slavery has been outlawed, and that is a very good thing. These admonitions are still applicable to many modern-day working relationships. Anytime we find ourselves in the employee role, we can apply these exhortations.
Remember that Peter has already told his readers to “keep their conduct honorable among the Gentiles.” In the employee/employer role, the application is keep your conduct honorable whether or not the person deserves it. Secondarily, when you are treated unjustly, and you continue to serve with kindness and respect, you are following in the example Christ left for us, by suffering for us in our place. Verses 22–25 show us exactly what He did, why He did it, and how that affects us. That ought to be motivation enough, don’t you think?
Now, on to memory aids….
Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the unjust.
Last week, it was everyone to governing authorities, this week it is servants to masters. “Be subject” is the verb used last week, this week and next week. Everyone is to be subject to governing authorities (wk7), Servants should be subject to masters (wk8), and wives should be subject to their own husbands (wk9). Also note: Good and Gentle: two g’s in a row.
For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.
Peter expounds on what he means by “gracious” in the next verse – the phrase “this is a gracious thing” gets repeated in the next verse. Endure(s) – repeats 3 times. Suffer(ing) (ed) – repeats 4 times. Unjust(ly) – repeats twice and is contrasted with He who is just. For – begins 4 of our verses.
For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good, and suffer for it, you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.
“Is it if” – it’s easy to trip over this phrase. I just had to say the phrase over and over again before connecting it to the whole sentence. Anyone else having the same problem? “Endure” – What counts and what doesn’t. “Good” – Remember last week I told you that it was Peter’s go-to word? Enduring unjust behavior is good, and “this is a gracious thing.”
For to this you have been called,
because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example,
so that you might follow in his steps.
One sentence, 4 parts. The word “you” is in each part.
He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.
When he was reviled, he did not revile in return;
when he suffered, he did not threaten,
but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
These 2 verses go together in my head. Even though vs 22 is its own sentence, I think of vs 22 and the first 2 phrases of vs 23 as going together. It’s talking about what Jesus didn’t do, and vs 23c tells us what he did do.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
THIS IS THE GOSPEL!!!! What I love about this, is that Peter tells us the reason why – THAT WE MIGHT DIE TO SIN AND LIVE TO RIGHTEOUSNESS!!!! It’s so much more than a ticket to heaven.
For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
The tendency to say “now have returned” instead is so strong that I still have to pause there to give my brain time to catch up with my mouth. I thought of the acronym SOS to help me remember the order of that last phrase.