Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

Some thoughts on 1 Peter 2:18-25 from “Following the Example of Jesus Christ” – YW Lesson 3, Manual 1

Posted by KS on January 10, 2012

(YW Posts by Karen are cross-posted here and at Beginnings New.)

When I taught some awesome Beehives back in 2009, I remember them picking this section of verses and working through them together. Here are some thoughts on these verses from 1 Peter 2:

 18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.

19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.

20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

This is almost like Christ saying (in Matthew 5:44),

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The structure is similar between the two passages. The idea in Matthew is that it is easy to love those who love you, but harder to love those who hate you. But, in order to be “children of your Father” in Heaven, you need to understand that all are loved by God. In order to be perfect, like God, you need to love everyone, like God does.

1 Peter says that not only should we be patient when we’re being called to task for something we’ve done wrong (and that’s hard enough as it is!), we should be patient – even more so! – when we “do well, and suffer for it.” Because our conscience is directed toward God, and not toward man. The passage continues:

21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

This is “even” what we are called to do – to suffer others to be upset with us, even when we have done nothing wrong. In this, Christ set the example for us. He suffered patiently, even when He had done nothing wrong. And, like us, this is because His conscience was not toward man, but toward God. Or, as it says here in verse 21, His conscience was towards us – towards every man. Or, towards all mankind. (Each of those might have a slightly different meaning here.)

22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

Again, like verse 20, here is someone who wasn’t being “buffeted” because of his faults. This was Christ. He did no sin, He had no guile. When others reviled, He didn’t revile or threatened. Why? Because He “committed himself to him” – to His Heavenly Father, just like we should (see verse 19, above). But also, God is “him that judgeth righteously.” Men on earth won’t judge righteously, so don’t revile and fight them. Commit yourself to the Judge in heaven who will always judge righteously.

24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whosestripes ye were healed.

25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

How similar is this to us? When we are patient with others, even when they misjudge us, do we also in some sense open up a way for them to return to God? Will our patience and love eventually pave the way? Or, at the least, can we by our love not add another stumbling block to their path? Clear the way, get it ready, for some time when Christ can open the way for them?

What do you see in these verses? What do you think about how they teach us to follow Christ? What do you make of them?

2 Responses to “Some thoughts on 1 Peter 2:18-25 from “Following the Example of Jesus Christ” – YW Lesson 3, Manual 1”

  1. Robert C. said

    Karen, this is fascinating. I’m esp. intrigued by the “with his stripes we are healed” quotation of Isaiah 53:5. It makes me think about the nature of the atonement, and the notion of being “perfect” or whole(/at-one) suggested in Matthew 5.

    Because it might take away from the role that Christ plays in our salvation, I think we are often hesitant to talk about the sense in which we have been called to be “saviors of men” (D&C 103:9-10), and thus like Christ (in what sense have we also be “anointed”, esp. with initiatory work in the temple?). But reading these verses suggests to me that any time we willingly suffer unjustly, we are performing a healing(/salvific) work. Showing mercy and forgiveness, in the face of injustice, is perhaps the only way we can, as individuals and as a community, become whole/perfect….

  2. Karen said

    I’m thinking also of 3 Nephi 27, where Christ says to be, “even as I am.” The full verse reads: “And know ye that ye shall be judges of this people, according to the judgment which I shall give unto you, which shall be just. Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” It seems that in 3 Nephi, when Christ is telling his apostles to be like Him, He is asking them to judge as God judges, to actually judge a righteous judgement even though they are men on earth and not God in heaven. That’s quite the responsibility! In 1 Peter we see that it is only God in heaven which “judgeth righteously.” It seems like the only way to judge a righteous judgment is to also be “perfect” like God and Christ, in the way Matthew 5 (and 3 Nephi 12:48) suggest: that we love even as Christ and the Father love – to love both the just and the unjust. I think anytime we are willing to love someone that makes us suffer unjustly, it is a part of learning how God loves, that He loves us and seeks to teach us, even when we always don’t treat Him as would be just! (None of us are deserving of grace, which is why it is a gift… but how hard it is for us to extend that sort of love to each other!)

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