As you read this week’s section, 1 Peter 3:8-4:11, remember the context of the letter is written to Christians who are undergoing persecution. They are being persecuted because their lives look different than the culture. Their lives are shaped by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. They live a life modeled by the love displayed in the death of Christ. They are able to live out this love because of the power found in the Resurrection. In this section, Peter lays out a vision for how we are to live in community.
What does community look like to you based on what you read here?
He then goes on to say that even when we live good lives we will probably still receive some persecution. It’s alright though because we are blessed when that happens. We shouldn’t fear these threats, but we should set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts.
How does revering Christ as Lord in your heart help you undergo persecution?
When this persecution happens, and you respond with kindness and love, people are going to take notice and ask what is wrong with you…or what is right with you. We are to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…doing this with gentleness and respect. What I love about this little section is that there is an assumption that when you live a certain way, people are going to ask questions and give you opportunity to share the hope you have.
In what ways have we as Christians given answers to people when no questions have been asked? How would you describe Peter’s model of evangelism in this passage?
Peter then reminds us of the suffering of Christ on the cross, that he suffered once for sins…to bring us to God. Because we are with God, we have special power and position. This power and position allows us to not worry about undergoing persecution because this life isn’t all there is. We live in the body as servants, as those who have already been redeemed. We don’t have to stake our own claim on power but allow God to perfectly be God in his own power. Peter then makes a bizarre statement about Jesus giving proclamation to the imprisoned spirits from the days of Noah. Did Jesus descend into hell? Did he visit hades? What in the (under)world is Peter talking about?
He then points to Noah, the ark, and the water of the flood as symbolic of baptism that now saves us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. How does baptism fit into this larger conversation about persecution and how we are to live? How does baptism save us? Is it our action in baptism that saves us or God’s action in the resurrection of Christ?
Chapter 3 then ends with the picture of Jesus at God’s right hand with angels, authorities, and powers in submission to him. With this in mind, what do you think Jesus proclaimed to the disobedient spirits? How does this vision of Jesus at the right hand of God give you encouragement to undergo persecution, willingly submit to those with power, and willingly let go of your power so that you might lift others up? How does our baptism shape the way we live our lives?