Among the “elect exiles of the Diaspora” humility toward one another in the community is grounded most fundamentally in our relationship with God. In all things the triune God is the source, power, and end of the messianic life.
As Peter now comes to the end of his letter he again acknowledges the exilic vulnerability of the messianic community, which is so often under attack and therefore subject to anxiety and suffering. He calls the community to live its life within the gracious care of God.
Peter’s point in saying “humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God” (5:6) is not to “put us in our place” before God, but rather to call us to entrust ourselves to God’s care in the most radical sense.
The messianic life is possible only under this condition—that we trust God absolutely in every circumstance. Only such trust will free us from the constant and normal temptations to assert our own power in circumstances, to take down the enemy or oppressor, to seek our own good, to establish our own rights, to attain our own position of honor, or, most basically, simply to defend ourselves and secure our own safety.
Without humble trust in “the mighty hand of God,” how would we be able to follow the way of the Messiah, who did not do any of those things, but rather, “entrust[ing] himself to the one who judges justly” (2:23), walked the journey from divine glory to the cross?
All messianic life must, therefore, be other than a mere imitation of Christ carried out by the sheer power of human will. It must be a participation in Christ whose own life of trust (which is the root of his sinlessness) precedes, defines, bears, and completes ours.
The Messiah is the Alpha and Omega of the messianic life. He humbled himself under the mighty hand of God, entrusted himself radically into God’s hand, and endured shame, suffering, and death, in order that in him we might also humble ourselves and trust God.