Chapter 1:12-15 (ESV) - Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.
Question to consider: If you knew your death was imminent, what message would you leave for those you love?
Today we get to the motivation for Peter’s letter to the church. He had a sense that he would soon be executed. In his previous letter, we learned that Peter used the code name “Babylon” to mention his safe arrival to Rome and was therefore taking the time to encourage those who came to faith at Pentecost and were now scattered throughout the Roman provinces in Asia Minor after they left Jerusalem when the persecution began. It is apparent now that Peter had been discovered and was possibly awaiting his death.
Peter understood that his life would be taken from him many years before this when speaking to Jesus after His resurrection. Jesus told Peter, “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) (John 21:18-19)
Knowing how bad the persecution of believers would get, Peter wanted to make sure that those he loved realized what they had been given in Christ and were always reminded of it. Once they were grounded in this knowledge, he could go to be with the Lord knowing he had faithfully fed Christ’s sheep as Jesus had called him to do. A faithful pastor (which is Latin for shepherd) will remind us of these things at every opportunity, for we constantly forget who we are in Christ and what He has done for us. We either go our own way and get distracted by our own circumstances, or we strive to earn God’s favor when Christ has already accomplished that through the cross.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for the love You have shown us through Your Son. We ask that You keep us from being distracted by the troubles and tasks of this world and remember our righteous calling in Christ. Please remind us that we are Your children and are therefore free to love our neighbor sincerely from the heart. Amen.