Suffering for doing good
6. Peter sums up his council to the saints.
—Be like-minded, united in spirit.
—Be compassionate, sympathetic.
—Love each other as brothers.
—Be tenderhearted and courteous.
—Don’t respond to evil with evil or insult for insult.
—Instead, respond with a blessing, “praying for their welfare, happiness, and protection” (AMPC) instead of scolding or berating.
—Don’t speak evil or try to deceive by what we say.
—Turn away from evil and do good instead.
—Seek peace and pursue it.
I find it hard to bless someone when they confront, speak harshly or mistreat me. I get quiet or defensive. Afterward, it often takes time to work through my emotions and forgive. So, it becomes all about me when I should listen, try to understand, and show concern for my fellow believer.
7. What to do when someone returns evil for good
Peter likely remembered Jesus’ words—
But I tell you who hear: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer also the other; and from him who takes away your cloak, don’t withhold your coat also. (Luke 6:27-29)
Jesus says we should—
—Love our enemies.
—Do good to those who hate us.
—Bless those who curse us.
—Pray for those who mistreat us.
—It’s unlikely harm will come to us if we are doing what is right.
—But if we do suffer for righteousness’ sake, it’s a blessing.
—Don’t be afraid of their threats and don’t worry.
—Be ready to defend your beliefs when someone asks.
8. Jesus set the example for us to follow.
“Christ is our example and inspiration. If He died for us, the least we can do is live for Him, even if it means we suffer for our faith.” (AWLC)
During Jesus’ time on earth, he lived a pure life. “He was despised and rejected by men” and suffered a gruesome death to bear our sickness and our suffering. He willingly suffered to pay the penalty for all sin past, present, and future. “The punishment that brought our peace was on him; and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:3-5)
Jesus modeled how to make use of scripture when tempted by Satan.
When Jesus persisted in prayer, he learned God’s plans and purpose and remained obedient. He knew he could ask God and he would send r more than twelve legions of angels, but the Scriptures must be fulfilled.
Throughout the trial, beating, and crucifixion, Jesus said and did everything according to God’s plan recorded in Scripture. He didn’t try to defend himself or get away.
During the days his physical body remained in the tomb, his spirit was alive. “He also went and preached to the spirits in prison” (1 Peter 3:19)
Apparently, the oldest identification of those imprisoned spirits understood them as the fallen angels of Genesis 6. That view was widely known and generally taken for granted in the apostolic era. We do not believe that Peter said that Christ preached the gospel to those imprisoned spirits; he taught that Christ announced His triumph over evil, which was bad news for them. For Peter’s readers, however, it meant comfort and encouragement. (Hiebert)
Other interpretations abound.
The rest of 1 Peter 3 compares Noah and his family’s salvation through water to baptism through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“So though Jesus suffered for doing good, He had the ultimate triumph. The example of Jesus proves Peter’s point in 1 Peter 3:9: when we suffer for doing good, we will inherit a blessing. (Enduring Word)
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All scripture references taken from the public domain WEB translation unless we identify another source.
My answers to BSF Bible Study Fellowship questions Acts + Letters of the Apostles Lesson 10 Day 3