Sunday: May 3, 2020
1 Peter 2:20 For what credit is there if you endure the beatings you deserve for having done wrong? But if you endure suffering even when you have done right, God will bless you for it.
Among the many reasons people are celebrated, dominant among them is the fact that in the face of persecution, they endured and kept their faith. Some lost their lives for this, but that was to their credit and for God’s glory. Therefore, if such people were to boast, their boast would be in that ‘they did right and suffered for it’.
On the other hand, when one boasts because of a wrong done, they are looked at differently, particularly when others are not in agreement with those actions. Any resulting punishment is hardly seen as a credit, but as a consequence for their actions. Along the lines of boasting or accepting reasonable fault for one’s actions, the contents of Saint Peter’s letter which are explored in today’s text tie in quite interestingly with the words exchanged by the two men hanged alongside Jesus on the cross.
‘But the other criminal protested. “Don’t you even fear God when you are dying? We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn’t done one thing wrong”(Luke 23:40,41). Thus, we all like sheep who had gone astray deserved some beatings: beatings about which we could not boast, nor have them counted as merit. Yet, Jesus took our place when he endured suffering for doing right- He who knew no sin became sin that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21)
This is why we can stand before God for we had Jesus who was willing to offer himself in our stead so we need not receive any of the blows we deserved. He took them all – the shame, the mockery, the hits, the spittle, the weight of the cross and the length of the nails- He took them all. His bleeding wounds, His thorne flesh, His shouts and His pain, all meant for us, were borne in His body.
That beloved, is how we made our way back to the shepherd and guardian of our souls.