God’s fingerprints are all over this text. God’s kindness is the reason we have everything we have. The inheritance God is holding for us is beyond valuable. It’s all because he sent his son, Jesus, to rescue and redeem us.
How do we respond to God when he picks us up, brushes us off, and puts us back on track, on his firm foundation? Peter gives praise! “All power to him forever! Amen.” How can we help but overflow with gratitude for the grace God extends to us!
Paul acknowledges his motivation for writing to his friends. He says, “My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you.”
Think back over some of the topics Peter has covered. They all reflect God’s grace. We’ve looked at the stages of Christian life, the household code of conduct, suffering for Christ, relationships in our faith communities, and shepherding God’s flock for him. God’s grace covers all aspects of Christian living.
Peter also refers to his friends Silas and Mark. By doing so, he raises their authority with the audience by association. At first, I wondered about his reference to Mark as his son, but in checking with my number one source (my PhD pastor husband), it is more likely to be John Mark, the author of the gospel of Mark. As I understand it, Mark’s main source of inspiration for his gospel was from his friend, Peter.
Peter’s reference to “Babylon” here is not pointing to the ancient civilization. Rather, Peter is using it “symbolically” to refer to Rome. Babylon, as you will recall, was an oppressive nation that took God’s people into exile. They were eventually defeated by another empire with God’s help. Perhaps it’s Peter’s way to “quietly” identify Rome as being an enemy of God.
What other “sister” congregations are out there needing encouragement these days? Many churches around the world are “quietly” going about their business in fear of what people outside the church might do to them. Do you think Peter and the other apostles of Jesus were feeling the same kind of fear?
Remember Peter told us his purpose is to encourage other believers. How can you be an encouragement to others today? Peter lived his faith and suffered for his allegiance to Christ. Are you willing to stand firm in your faith like Peter did?
Let’s pray. Lord, you know all the atrocities happening around the world. You know all the people who are being persecuted for their faith. Send encouragement to them in their time of need. Help me to do my part to encourage others and nurture them in their faith. Help me be firm in my own faith when tempted and tested. In Jesus’ name. Amen.