Mar. 25 - Joy in the Midst of Suffering
Updated: Jul 10, 2019
In first century Rome, Christians refused to worship the Roman gods or Emperor Nero as the other Romans did. As a result, they suffered extensive torment and discrimination. When a terrible fire broke out and burned throughout Rome for six days, Nero was identified as the most likely culprit. To divert attention, he pointed his finger at the already-unpopular Christians and the hatred for them grew and spread as quickly as the fire. Seen by many as enemies of the human race, Christians became the target of widespread torture and murder.
It is during this terrifying time frame that Peter wrote to the Christians. He encourages them to rejoice through the trials in anticipation of the time they are reunited with Christ. To those without a Christian viewpoint, this seems like insane advice.
1 Peter 1:6-7 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Peter, who is less concerned about their lives, but more focused on their actions, calls them to continued spiritual growth.
1 Peter 2:1-3 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
On Sunday, Greg emphasized the difference between “knowledge” and “information” in his sermon. Those who persecuted the Christians were operating on faulty information, which led to a tragic outcome in the lives of the Christians, whereas the Christians were living with a deep knowledge of Christ, so their focus went beyond their earthy bodies.
2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
There are people all around us who lack knowledge of Christ, so they live their lives based on false information about Jesus, the church, and religion. We need to pray for the courage and wisdom to be able to share true knowledge of our Lord with those around us. We have a beautiful future in Heaven awaiting us – don’t we want to share that with the rest of the world?