Lectionary Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Easter

This excerpt comes from 1 & 2 Peter (BTCB) by Douglas Harink, commenting
on 1 Peter 2:19-25:

Many forceful human uprisings against existing orders are attempts to overcome a sin of injustice—the sin of the illegitimate or oppressive regime, the sin of the cruel master, the sin of the abusive misogynist—to free oneself from such sin’s consequences, and to make the world right.

And who would not immediately see the justice in so many of those attempts to undo the injustices of the world? Justice must finally be done, the balance restored, if the whole human struggle for life is not to devolve into an empty striving after the wind. The struggle for justice is what makes us human.

But does history not also reveal in all too abundant and horrific detail that that struggle is itself not only the child but also the mother of further injustice? And so it goes. Who shall deliver us from this body of death? Where and how shall justice be done?

The gospel is that God does justice in Jesus Christ. God wars against injustice when the divine Son “becomes flesh” and takes “the form of a slave,” entering fully into the deepest and broadest realms of injustice, becoming vulnerable to its consequences, absorbing its destructive power, and allowing himself to be conquered by its agents, to be crucified.

In this ultimate act of submission to the power of injustice, Christ reveals his ultimate freedom to be just; that is, in his own death, to honor, serve, and forgive the very agents of human injustice that murder him, rather than to inflict their just punishment upon them.

The Father receives and honors this ultimate act of life-giving justice by giving life to the just one, raising him from the dead, revealing him as the one in whom alone true justice is eternally enacted. The Holy Spirit draws and binds us to this just one and makes us participants in his justice as we both receive it and do it.

We become a people who learn to forsake the false promises, practices, and protections of the rulers of this age and to dwell under the sovereign healing, guidance, and protection of Jesus Christ: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls” (1 Pet. 2:24–25).

In such a people nations, societies, and families in bondage to injustice might begin to perceive, however dimly, God’s justice for all in the Messiah, and to do it.


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