But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed.
“And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” I Peter 3:13-15
It is against the darkest of night sky in which the stars shine their brightest. During the light of day, it is as if the stars are nonexistent. But as the sun escapes and the darkness arrives the glory of the heavens is revealed. This First Letter of Peter is written to believers who are in dark times and are only going to get darker yet. Persecution under Nero had begun and will only intensify to the point of the execution of six million people. The Christians would be fed to the lions, tormented in the games of the Coliseum, nailed to crosses, made to be human candles and boiled in oil. It was a dark time, an awful time, a hopeless time. No wonder we see in this letter frequent reference to suffering and tremendous difficulty and threat—
- 1:6-7… “grieved by various trials… tested by fire”
- 2:18-19… “also to the harsh… endures grief, suffering wrongfully”
- 3:14, 17… “suffer for righteousness sake… to suffer for doing good”
- 4:12, 16 … “concerning the fiery trial which is to try you… suffers as a Christian”
- 5:8… “seeking whom he may devour”
Bottom line, Peter was writing to those who seemed to be living in a situation of hopelessness.
Midway through his letter, Peter states to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone for the hope that is in you…” In other words, though they were living in darkest of times, the Christian recipients of Peter’s letter had an obvious hope. Their hope was their Savior and Lord, Jesus. Peter reminds them to share of the hope “that is in you.” He is not demanding they give a theological defense, nor an appeal to intellect. Rather it is an inward change. That is our hope… not a solution, not escape, but a Savior, a real, present and living Savior.
Consider the simplicity of the story of the blind-man of John 9. A man who daily since birth, lived in darkness. Jesus touches and heals him. A hot debate occurs surrounding the Law, Theology, Deity of Jesus and the Miraculous. The man born blind is asked to defend the touch of Jesus upon his eyes, and his new-found eyesight. He doesn’t get all tangled up in the debate and argument. The man born blind goes to the obvious and personal—“Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know; that though I was blind, now I see.”
That is our hope, a people in darkness are now in light… I John 1:5 reads: “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” Peter (1 Pet. 2:9) tells us that we are God’s special people, “who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” That is our hope… all of us sinners in darkness, have been invited and called into the marvelous light of God’s gift of salvation—our dark sins nailed to the cross. Colossians 1:13– “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” Now I see!