Lectionary Reflection for the Fifth Sunday of Easter

This excerpt comes from 1 & 2 Peter (BTCB) by Douglas Harink, commenting on 1 Peter 3:13-22:

Here again we see why the call to “be subordinate” is good news. Those who have no worldly image, honor, authority, and rule to gain or lose, to horde or defend, also need not be troubled by or “fear what they [the ones doing harm] fear” (3:14). Freed from such fear, God’s people are also freed up for the goodness to which they are called.

Having relinquished their own desires and labors toward sovereignty by being subordinate, they make “holy room” (hagiasate, “sanctify”; 3:15) in their hearts for only one sovereign, Christ the Lord, who, as Peter repeatedly reminds us, enacted his sovereignty on the cross. He is the one in whom our desires find their end and fulfillment. In him we already share, as much as we allow, in the gracious infinite fullness of the triune God. What more do we need? What is there to fear?

Such a free and revolutionary life as lived by the followers of Christ will surely provoke a host of questions from those who observe it, from those whose hopes, expectations, and habits of thought and practice have been withered and misshapen by the powers of this age: How can a person reasonably follow Christ?

How can anyone live such a “subordinate” life?

How can it be good, especially if it brings suffering?

How can you think that justice is being done in the world by it?

How can you turn the other cheek, walk another mile, give your shirt as well as your coat?

How can you not desire to wield the power that the rulers and masters do, so that at least you can do the good and the justice that they are not doing?

How can families, societies, nations, and empires be expected to live in such an anarchic manner?

Would that not be the end of the world as we know it?



©2009 by Douglas Harink. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.