About Jesus Steve Sweetman
we read here about submission to civil authority sounds much like what
Paul taught in Romans 13. This
is one reason, as I've stated in my introduction, that some people
actually think Paul wrote 1 Peter. Of
course, I do not believe that. What
is more believable is that the first generation Christians believed, at
least for the most part, the same thing on this issue.
Peter tells his readers to do good in order that their accusers would
praise God on the Day of Judgement, in verses 13 and 14 he now tells his
readers to submit to "every authority instituted among men."
He goes on to say that we should submit to the king, governors, or
anyone these men send their way.
Greek word that is translated as "submit" is
"hupotasso." It is
derived from two other words, "hupo,"
meaning "under," and, "tasso," meaning to arrange or
rank." Thus the meaning
of "hupostasso" is "to rank under, or to arrange
under." It was very much
a military word in the first century Roman society.
A soldier, for example, would rank under his superior officer.
Peter is telling these Christians to align themselves under their
governing authorities, who by the way, were hostile to their way of life
as a Christian.
in its daily Roman usage was a cold hearted word.
You just submit; no questions asked.
That being said, the New Testament, at least in certain places,
often softens this Greek word. For
example, in Ephesians 5:22 Paul says that wives should submit to their
husbands. In context, and in
how "hupotasso" is used in Christian relationships, this
submission is based on a mutual love and care for one another.
It's not based on a dictatorial mandate by the one to whom we are
to submit. That being said, a
mutual caring relationship is not what the first generation Christians had
with their government. Christians
were being persecuted, imprisoned, and even executed for their
relationship with Jesus. I
would not call that a mutual caring relationship.
This command then to submit to the authorities would be hard to
understand and obey if you were a Christian living in the Roman Empire in
Peter's day, the very empire that had Peter executed a few short years
after he wrote this letter.
Greek verb tense concerning the verb "submit" is an aorist
passive imperative. This means
that the readers were to once and for all (aorist) decide to allow
(passive) the authorities to dictate to you.
Imperative means that this is ac command, not a suggestion. Again,
this would be a very difficult command to obey under the reader's present
are some reasons why Peter tells his readers to submit to authorities, and
in this case, ungodly authorities. One
reason is because God has sent these men to punish people who are doing
wrong and commend those who are doing good.
The Apostle Paul wrote the same thing in Romans 13:1.
This only makes sense. If
the government exists to punish the evil doer, then if you obey you have
no worries about being punished, and, you are a good witness for the Lord.
thing to consider is that many governments over the centuries do more than
keep civil order, punish the evil doer, and commend those who do good.
They institute all sorts of other laws, whether tax laws, marriage
laws, or whatever, that makes it hard for the Christian to submit.
In the case of the first generation Christian, many of them were
commanded to call Caesar lord, something they just could not do.
Jesus was their Lord, not Caesar.
It would be a denial of Jesus to call anyone else Lord.
This actually became an issue in the mid second century.
Some believers believed they could verbally say that Caesar was
Lord but believe in their hearts that Jesus was Lord.
By doing this their lives would be spared to continue to preach the
gospel. Others refused to
verbalize Caesar being Lord. I
would, at least I hope I would have, been found in this second group.
government of Peter's day was very much a dictatorial system that demanded
more than just obeying laws to do good.
The government demanded pagan style worship.
So, the question is asked, "How could a Christian obey such
laws from such authorities?"
made it clear in Romans 13:1 that the Roman government of hi's day, and I
believe our day too, was put in power by God.
Therefore, God Himself is the final authority, even over the
government. So, when
government laws fall in line with God's law, you submit, but, when
government opposes the God who put it in power, you don't submit.
Thus, arose the conflict between Christians and the Roman
authorities in Peter's day. Peter's
very life shows us that he did not submit to authorities all the time.
That is why he was executed by the Roman government.
He could not submit in matters that violated the laws of God.
Acts 4:19 Peter asked the Jewish leaders whether he should obey them or
God. It is clear that in
Peterís mind, he would obey the civil authorities the best he could, but
when civil law came in conflict with Godís laws, Peter would obey God
instead of the authorities.
Peter and Paul, and I'm sure others, understood that civil disobedience
would be punished. They did
not try to escape this punishment, even if the punishment was death.
Instead, they submitted to the punishment, because this was the
command from the Lord. This is
the ultimate in submission to authorities.
problem that arises among us is to know what laws should we obey and what
laws we shouldn't obey. We
tend to differ on this within the Christian community.
The only thing I can suggest at the moment is to attempt to do our
best to obey the government.
also should note that Nero was the Supreme leader of the
reason is given by Peter for obedience to authority in verse 13 is
"for the Lord's sake." We
don't submit because the authorities are good or bad, right or left, or,
liberal or conservative. We
submit because Jesus wants us to have an underlying spirit of submission,
first to Him and then to others. Our
submission to government is because we are servants of God, the very God
who put government into power. The
Apostle Paul put it this way. "Whatever
you do, do as unto the Lord" (Colossians 3:17).
My point here is simple; a submissive spirit is a humble spirit.
It does not seek itself. It
seeks the Lord Jesus and those He places us along side at any given time.
I go on to verse 15 I need to point out once again, as Paul pointed out in
Romans 13:1, God appoints governing authorities.
He is the one that works behind the scene and causes leaders and
nations to both rise and fall. You
may think that you are voting your leader into office, and you do have a
part to play in the process, but, it is God who ultimately appoints your
governing authority. I will
not elaborate on how He does that here because I have done that elsewhere.
Suffice to say, Daniel 2:21 and 4:24 makes this clear.
verse 15 Peter tells us another reason why we should obey governing
authorities. "It is
Godís will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of
foolish men." Peter had
no problem speaking the truth of fallen men here.
His estimation of fallen humanity is seen in his words
"ignorant talk of foolish men."
In modern terms, he calls a spade a spade.
point Peter is making here is that Christians should not be punished by
the authorities for doing evil. If
they were going to be punished it should be for doing good, for doing what
Jesus wants them to do. It's a
bad witness for Jesus, for example, if a Christian gets punished for
cheating on his taxes, drinking while driving, and all sorts of other such
things. In other words, we
submit to authorities the best we can, even if they are foolish and stupid
as Peter says.
Peter is telling Christians today is that we too should do good.
We should not get in trouble with the authorities for stupid or
unlawful things that we do. Authorities
should see that we do good and want to in all honesty obey them.
If they punish us for doing good, that is, for our faith in Jesus,
then so be it. We should
accept the punishment and rejoice because we are suffering in the same way
Jesus suffered. Way too often
these days Christians are criticized for their nasty tone of voice and
their nasty ways of doing things. That
should not be. We should be
respectful to all men, yet at the same time speak the truth.
Let the truth get us in trouble, not the nasty way we speak the
guess one should understand what "doing good" means.
Doing good in the eyes of a secular, even pagan, world, might not
be doing good in the eyes of God. The
good that we do must be based on how the Bible understands what is good.
For example, in today's world the acceptance of the gay lifestyle,
including attending gay pride parades, would be seen as doing good.
That's clearly not the way the Bible views doing good.
Therefore, at times we will be persecuted for what the Bible calls
Luther put it this way when he said, and I paraphrase, "God places
evil government into power to punish evil people." The
point that God has instituted government to punish evil men often brings
up the question about capital punishment.
I have personally struggled over this for years, but of late have
looked into two passages that to me, suggest that Paul believed in capital
punishment. In Acts 25:11 Paul
was before the civil authorities. He
felt that he had been arrested illegally because in his mind he had done
nothing wrong. That being
said, he was willing to be executed if he had committed a crime punishable
by execution. Also, in Romans
13:4 Paul teaches that civil authorities use the sword when punishing evil
doers. The word "sword" used in this verse is a small sword that
Roman soldiers used to behead people.
Paul believe in capital punishment? I
think that he might have. I
say that based on his willingness to die for wrong doing as seen in Acts
25:11 as just a matter of him accepting the social norm of the day.
Some people go on to say that Paul's thinking concerning submission
to government goes as far as submitting to be executed for wrong doing and
thus he would have accepted capital punishment as a legitimate form of
punishment. That being said,
Paul was raised and taught in a Jewish society that from Old Testament
days believed in capital punishment. I
tend, therefore, to believe, at least at the moment, that Paul believed in
word "silence" in verse 15 is important.
The government, or anyone else as far as that goes, should have no
negative thing to say about Christians. Their
criticism should be silenced.
good and proper way in which Christians should live is really meant to be
a testimony of our faith to the unsaved world around us.
Thus Peter, and the rest of the Christian community, believed that
a spirit of submission was a godly attribute to have in life.
They considered submission to authorities, to slave masters, to
husbands, and to each other as something to aspire to.
This kind of thinking is far from what we see in western culture
verb "doing good" is a present active Greek participle.
This means that Christians are to be in the present time doing
good, but, because this is a participle, and I know what I am saying isn't
good grammar, but, the participle means the Christians are "gooders."
verb "you may silence" is a present active infinitive Greek
verb. An infinitive Greek verb
is a verb that has usually a precise outcome.
For example, a baseball batter swings at the ball with full
expectation that he will hit the ball.
That is the intent of the swing of the bat.
The intent of the Christian doing good is to silence the foolish
men that Peter has just mentioned.
goes on to say in verse 16, that his readers should "live as free
men." These words are
significant in light that in any dictatorial rule, freedom is restricted,
yet, Peter feels Christians are free.
We are free from many things. We
are free from the punishment of wrong doing. We
are free from bondage of sin and the Law of Moses.
We have the ability to be free from a sinful lifestyle.
The list could go on. However
you want to think of this freedom, and since it is the context of
dictatorial government, Christians should do good and live as free men,
not fearing being punished by government.
On the other hand, when Peter says that the Christian should not
allow their freedom to be a cover-up for evil he might be saying that
freedom has its limits. You
are not entitled to sin, to disobey government under the guise of being
free. It would appear that
some Christians were doing just that or else Peter would not have given
free from our sin and its results enables us to be free to serve God, as
Peter says here. Sin separates
us from our Lord and when sin is taken out of the way, we are reunited
with Him, and able to serve Him as we should.
So, freedom has its boundaries.
in verse 16 Peter says that we are to be servants of God.
The Greek word "dulos" is translated as servant here.
Our English word "slave" might be a better word because I
think we tend to view the word "slave" in a more negative way
than the word "servant." For
the western world, slavery is simply bad.
The Greek word "dulos" in the first century Greek world
was understood to be the lowest of the lowest when it came to slaves.
It morphed into the idea of one giving himself up to the will of
another. This is how Paul,
Peter, and most first generation Christians viewed themselves.
They were a "dulos" of God.
They were a slave by choice to God.
They gave themselves up to the will of God and they did so freely.
This should be our understanding of who we are in Christ.
I question that most western world Christians view themselves as a
slave by choice to God. Of
course, our slave master is nothing like the slave masters that could be
seen in the southern
verse 17 Peter thus says that we are indeed free to serve Jesus by
respecting or honoring everyone, and that includes the pagan sinners who
were killing Christians.
Peter says to honour, or show proper respect to everyone this is an aorist
active imperative Greek verb. An
imperative verb is a command. This
is not a suggestion. Aorist is a one time action, suggesting that once and
for all we decide to honour everyone.
also tells his readers to love (agape in Greek) the brotherhood of
believers. Jesus told us that
the world will know we follow Him by the love we have towards our brothers
in the Lord (John 13:35). This
has always been a hard Biblical command for Christians to follow. No
wonder the world fails to see Jesus in much of the church.
says to honour the king, and again, this is Nero, an evil man who kills
Christians. I think you would
have to admit that this would be a hard thing for these believers to do.
If you were a widow because Nero killed your husband, it would be
hard for you to honour Nero.
commands us also to fear God. I've
said this before, but fearing God should not be down graded to mere
reverence. Fear means to be
afraid as well as reverence. That
being said, we love the one we fear and we fear the one we love.
It sounds paradoxical, but it is Biblical.
often think of Billy Graham in respect to these things.
Many well known Christian evangelists are often criticized for
dishonorable things they do. Billy
Graham at times may have been criticized for his trust in Jesus, but
seldom for a dishonourable lifestyle and disrespect for governing
authorities, which by the way, he was often asked for advice from.
verses 18 and 19 Peter gives the same advice to slaves as Paul gives.
He tells slaves to submit to their masters, even if they are
unjust. The Greek word
"despotes" is translated as "masters" in this verse.
It means "domineering masters," not just nice masters.
The reason why Peter tells slaves to submit, even to unjust
masters, is because "it is commendable if a man bears up under the
pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God."
Is Peter being masochistic here?
Has Peter got his mind too much into the suffering life that he
can't see straight? Should he
begin to think more positively in order to get out of such suffering?
Whatever the answers to these questions are, Peter, inspired by the
Holy Spirit, says "it is commendable" to go through unjust
suffering. This is not really
the attitude of many Christians today who avoid suffering at all costs.
Many Christians believe you are out of God's will if you suffer.
What Peter is saying here is that we should not be so quick to
escape suffering. Remember,
back in chapter 1 he said that suffering is one way in which your faith is
tested to be either genuine or false.
to some estimates, when Peter wrote these words there were probably about
600 million slaves in the Roman Empire. We
need to realize that slavery was simply a form of Roman government and
culture. Jesus, Paul, Peter,
and the rest, were not out to change society.
That is probably the reason why they weren't out to stop slavery.
They were preachers of the gospel to individual people, not to
governments or culture. Peter
wanted to win individuals to Jesus, not governments to Jesus.
Greek word translated as "respect" in the NIV in verse 18 is
"phobos," meaning, "fear."
Maybe the NIV has softened the meaning of "phobos" here.
I think many Christians have softened "phobos" today to
not mean fear but reverence or respect.
I believe at times this misrepresents the passage of Scripture that
the Greek word "phobos" is in.
Greek word "skolios" is translated here as "harsh" in
my version of the NIV. Scolios"
means "crooked" and rightly describes an unreasonable master.
verse 19 Peter gives the reason why people can endure such suffering from
a crooked master. He says that
it is because they sense "the consciousness of God."
Once again, many of us are not conscious of God in our lives.
If the Holy Spirit lives within us we should sense His presence, if
not all of the times, at least some of the time. No
wonder we can't endure hardship and suffering as Peter suggests here. Many
of us do not sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives in the
best of times let alone in the worst of times.
Being conscious of God's presence gets us through the sufferings of
life. Many of us don't
feel the Holy Spirit's presence because we don't take the time to come to
Him and sit in His presence. We
are too preoccupied with the things of the world. As
Hebrews 12:1 tells us, we should throw off all of these hindrances in our
lives in order to run the race God has asked us to run.
need to note here that the suffering Peter is talking about in this part
of his letter is unjust suffering. He
is not talking about suffering of other kinds, like sickness, or example.
He was talking about Christian persecution.
He was saying that when you as a Christian suffer because of your
faith in Jesus, you bear up under the suffering.
You don't retaliate, get even, or get mad at God or your
verse 20 Peter clearly states that if a slave is beaten for doing wrong,
he deserves it, but, if he is beaten for doing good, (God's definition of
good) and he holds up under that injustice, then God says that is
commendable. It's this
mentality, hard as it is, that we need in the coming conflict with the
anti-Christ culture in which we live in the western world.
Christians in other parts of the world and Christians throughout
history have suffered for their association with Jesus.
It's nothing new. It's
just our time.
logic is understandable here. If
you are punished for doing wrong, that is to be expected.
You should be punished. However,
being punished for doing right deserves no punishment and therefore is
unjust. It may be just in the
eyes of man, but not in the eyes of God.
Enduring such suffering is commendable in God's sight.
Again, the unjust suffering here is in reference to suffering for
the sake of Jesus, such suffering that if you read John 15 and 16 was
expected because it was predicted by Jesus.
verse 21 Peter states why unjust suffering is commendable in the sight of
God. The reason is because
Jesus Himself endured unjust suffering.
If our leader shows us the example, then we should follow.
Peter backs up his point in verse 22 by quoting from Isaiah 53:9
that says, "he committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His
mouth." Jesus stood
before His accusers with little words of self defense.
Jesus accepted the abuse because it led to a higher good.
He did not retaliate because He knew He was in His Father's will,
as hard as His Father's will was to carry out.
times standing up for oneís civil rights when one is experiencing
injustice is appropriate. There
may be times where you might not be able to stand up for any civil rights.
Paul had the choice, at least at one juncture of his life that we
know of, to appeal to Caesar because he was a Roman citizen.
Other Christians in Paulís day did not have the choice.
They were unjustly persecuted, even to death, as was Peter, and
Paul as well in the long run. Therefore,
Peter, Paul, and others, had to endure this injustice, even when it meant
enduring death. My conclusion
is that we stand on Biblical grounds when we defend ourselves if that is
possible, especially in our western democracies where we have the right of
self defense. If that is not
possible, which is becoming more the reality in 21st century western
culture, we need to endure the injustice, knowing Jesus is with us.
might ask why the first generation Christians didn't oppose slavery.
Why didn't Paul, Peter, and others speak out against it?
There might be a couple of reasons here.
One was that slavery was the backbone of Roman society.
That is how much of the work was done in the
the words "you were called" in verse 21.
Suffering, especially at the hands of persecutors was a calling
from God for these people. I
suggest the same might well be true for us as well when some day as the
conflict between Christians and this anti-Christ culture in which we live
verse 21 we see the word "example."
Jesus left us the example when it comes to suffering.
The Greek word translated into English as "example" here
means a "carbon copy." We
are to be a carbon copy of Jesus in all respects, and that includes
this point I would like to insert an article I wrote concerning what the
Bible says bout slavery. It is
important to this section of Peter's letter.
people have wondered why the Bible doesn't come out and clearly oppose
slavery. Here's my very brief attempt to address this issue.
first mentioned in Genesis 9:25, has been an established practice in the
social order of man since the dawning days of tribal warfare.
God conceded that slavery would never be eradicated from humanity
so He regulated the practice in the Law of Moses to protect slaves.
Many of the Law's regulations were based on God conceding to our
sinfulness. They were a matter
of necessity; not God's will. The
divorce law of Deuteronomy 24:1 to 4 is another example of this.
God conceded that couples would divorce (Matthew 19:8) so He
instituted the law of divorce to protect innocent divorced wives.
the following laws. "Your
slaves are to come from the nations around you" (Leviticus 25:44).
"If a slave has taken refuge with you, do not hand him over to
his master" (Deuteronomy 23:15).
"If a man hits a slave in the eye and destroys it, he must let
the slave go free to compensate for it" (Exodus 21:26).
"If a man beats his slave with a rod and if the slave dies Ö
he must be punished" (Exodus 21:20).
Concerning the Passover meal the Lord said that "no foreigner
is to eat of it. Any slave you
have bought may eat of it after you have circumcised him" (Exodus
12:44, also in Leviticus 22:11).
regulations show that God demands proper treatment of slaves.
He even views them as family in regard to the Passover meal, and
3:7 tells us that God is upset with the
34:16 says, "you have turned around and profaned my name; each one of
you has taken back the slaves you have set free Ö" When Israelis
took back their slaves, God viewed that as a personal offense against
Himself. Clearly, God prefers
believe the Old Testament reluctantly concedes to the practice of slavery,
therefore it regulates this evil practice to protect slaves.
I also believe the New Testament follows the same approach.
Apostle Paul speaks to slavery more than any other New Testament author.
Ephesians 6:5 to 8 says; "Obey your earthly masters with
respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey
Christ." See also
Colossians 4:22 to 23 and 1 Timothy 6:1 to 2.
The Apostle Peter agrees with Paul, although he adds that slaves
should even obey brutal masters. He
considers such obedience to be a form of suffering for Christ" (1
Peter 2:18 to 19). Paul
also says that slaves shouldn't try to gain their freedom, but if they're
offered freedom, they should take it (1 Corinthians 7:20).
above statements disturb us today, but they weren't as disturbing in
Paul's day. There were just as
many slaves as there were free men in the
tells all Christians in 1 Corinthians 7, including Christian slaves, to
remain in the situation they were in when they first met Jesus.
He felt that if Christians could demonstrate a godly lifestyle in
their anti-Christian situation, they might win those around them to Jesus.
Telling slaves to stay with their owners was all about winning
their owners to Jesus.
should also note that God makes no distinction between slaves and free men
when it comes to salvation (1 Corinthians 12:13 and Galatians 3:28).
Christians slave owners Paul says, "Treat your slaves in the same
(caring) way. Do not threaten
them, since you know that He who is both their Master and your Master is
in heaven and there is no favouritism with Him" (Ephesians 6:9).
Paul reminds slave owners that both they and their slaves are
subject to the one and only Master in heaven, so they better behave
letter to Philemon is key to this whole issue.
Philemon was a Christian slave owner.
Onesimus was one of his slaves who apparently ran away.
In Philemon 8 through 16 Paul says; "Although in Christ I
could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, I appeal to you on
the basis of love Ö take
Onesimus back, no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear
brother." On the behalf
of Jesus, Paul tells Philemon to do the right thing, which was to free his
slave and treat him as a brother. If
you've missed all that I've said, don't miss this.
Freeing Onesimus and considering him as a brother clearly
demonstrates the heart of God concerning slavery.
might still wonder why Paul didn't vigorously oppose slavery.
The answer is simple. Paul's
mission as seen in Acts 9:15 was to be "God's chosen instrument and
to carry His name before the Gentiles and to their kings and before the
of us have been activists for various causes, and there's nothing
inherently wrong with that. I've
marched in protest in front of abortion clinics in times past, but as far
as I know, no one came to Jesus because of these protests.
Only the preaching of the gospel can lead a sinner to Jesus.
Besides, banning abortion wouldn't have ended the practice.
It would have only sent it back underground, where slavery exists
today in our so-called civilized western world.
Unless the heart of man changes, his cultural ills remain.
Even though God legislated morality in the Law of Moses, He knew
that laws don't change the heart of man.
Only the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer can change a
Bible doesn't overtly condemn slavery, but it does oppose it.
In His inaugural speech to Israel, Jesus stated, "The Spirit
of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to
the poor, He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance
to the captives, and the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at
liberty them that are bruised" (Luke 4:18).
Interpret "preach deliverance to the captives" and
"set at liberty them that are bruised" as you wish.
At least in part, I understand Jesus to say that our best attempts
at legislating morality fails. Only
He, through the Holy Spirit, can effectively change the heart of man.
Only then will slavery be abolished from our world, including the
sub-culture of our western world.
Bible does not say, "you shall have no slave" or anything like
that, but, I do believe from what I've said above that the Bible does not
condone slavery. I now return
to my commentary on 1 Peter.
verse 22 Peter reminds his readers that while Jesus was being unjustly
interrogated by both the Jewish and Roman authorities, even though He had
done nothing wrong, He did not retaliate.
Peter is saying that we should follow Jesus' example in this
respect. This is something we
should learn now in times of relative ease.
The day is coming in the western world when Christians will be
forced to live like Jesus in this respect.
verse 23 Peter continues on with the example of Jesus when he says,
"when they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He
suffered, He made no threats. Instead,
He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly."
Peter says that Jesus endured unjust suffering.
Instead of standing up for Himself, and instead of retaliating, He
trusted in God His Father. The
same should be true of us in those times of unjust suffering.
Jesus is our example here as He is with all things.
We give ourselves to the presence of God in our lives and trust
Jesus in those hard times because He is trustworthy.
We hand our situation over to Jesus, knowing that even in the worst
case, we will still have Him. This
is what genuine faith, or trust, is all about.
I need to point out that one reason why Jesus did not defend Himself after
being arrested was that it was God's will for Him to die on the cross.
Trying to defend Himself so He wouldn't be executed was not God's
will. Our persecution is
different than Jesus' in this respect.
We are persecuted because we follow Jesus.
Jesus was persecuted because it was God's will for Him to die on
the cross for our salvation. I'm
not saying it's not God's will for us to suffer.
Peter says it is. It's
only the reason for our suffering that is different than Jesus' suffering.
that Peter speaks of God who is the one who judges justly.
We have no need to retaliate because God will avenge those who do
evil against us, and, He will do a much better job than us.
Remember the martyred saints under the altar in Revelation 6.
They asked God when their blood would be avenged.
God response was simply that it was not yet time.
The time will come, because God is just, that He will deal with
those who unjustly cause us to suffer.
24 says that Jesus suffered death so we might die to sin and live a
righteous life. Because of the
Holy Spirit's involvement in our lives we do have the ability to little by
little cease from sin and live righteously.
verse 24 Peter paraphrases Isaiah 53:9.
He notes that "Jesus bore our sins in His body" while on
the cross. On the cross Jesus
was punished for our sins. He
died in our place, but something more than that happened on the cross.
He bore sins in His body. His
body became unrecognizable as a human being because He actually became sin
Greek word "anapharo," meaning to "take up" is
translated as "bore" in this verse.
Jesus somehow picked up our sins, and as Paul said, "became
sin" on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:24).
in verse 24 we note that Jesus bore our sin.
In Leviticus 14:20 in the Septuagint we see this same Greek word
used. It's used in reference
to a lamb being lifted up on an altar.
It's a word representing sacrifice, and in Old Testament terms,
this, we should die to sin. If
Jesus actually became sin for us, and if we continue in sin, then the fact
of the matter is that Jesus became sin for nothing. Since
Jesus died for our sins, we should then die to our sins. This
clearly suggests that we, with the help of the Lord and the Holy Spirit,
are capable of overcoming sin in our lives.
Obviously at this point we need a clear understanding of sin.
Sin is more than disobeying the Ten Commandments.
It's anything we do that stems from our fallen sinful nature, and
that's pretty much a lot of what we do.
continues by saying that because of his wounds, we were healed.
The point to consider here is, what does the word
"healed" refer to. The
Evangelical community is split over this issue.
Some say that the word refers to physical healing because physical
healing was paid for on the cross of Christ.
In other words, it was part of the atonement.
Other's don't believe the word "healed" refers to
physical healing but spiritual healing because they feel physical healing
was not paid for at the cross of Christ, or, is not part of the atonement.
They say, for example, that sin was portrayed as physical sickness as seen in
Isaiah 1:5 and 6. Whether
physical healing is part of the atonement or not is debatable. The
way I see this verse is that I am not convinced that neither Isaiah nor
Peter is talking about physical healing.
The context doesn't seem to suggest that to me both here in 1 Peter
and in Isaiah 53. There is no
direct reference to the healing of our sick bodies in either passage.
I lean at the moment to thinking that Peter is speaking about
spiritual healing; healing from sin because that is the context in which
he is making his point. That
being said, I do believe that Jesus can heal a person physically if it is
His will. Miracles of healing
sick bodies did not end with the first generation Christians, and I'm a
living example of that. I
would have been dead at the age of 6 if not for Jesus healing me of
Greek word "aiomai" is translated as "healed" and
throughout the New Testament. A
simple word search of both of these Greek and English words will show us
that healing is in reference to both sin and sickness. John 12:40 is just
one example. This verse is a
direct quote from Isaiah 6:10 which is clearly in reference to healing
from sin. We must understand
the context of the word "heal" to understand in which way it is
One point to be made here is that among Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians, as soon as they see or hear the word "heal" they immediately think in terms of physical healing these days without considering the context. That is bad hermeneutics. We should not jump to our preconceived traditional thinking without giving the text serious thought.
we go on to verse 25 I'd like to comment on Isaiah 53:4 from which Peter
is quoting. The NIV reads as follows.
"Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering..."
The KJV reads as follows.
"Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows
The HCSB reads as follows.
"He Himself has born our sicknesses and carried our pain
The key words in the above phrase in the NIV are pain (KJV griefs
- HCSB sicknesses) and suffering (KJV sorrows - HCSB pain).
It seems to me that the variations in translations depend on how
you understand the Hebrew words associated with our English words.
Hebrew word "choliy" is translated as pain (NIV) griefs (KJV)
and sicknesses (HCSB).
This word has a variety of meanings that range from sickness, grief,
evil, calamity, and something similar.
So, depending on one's presupposition one will translate these
Hebrew word "makof" is translated as suffering (NIV) sorrow
(KJV) and pain (HCSB).
This word can mean pain in a physical, mental, emotional sense.
As in the Hebrew word "choliy" above, one's
presupposition will influence the translation process.
is one more thought in connection with the last two paragraphs.
It is my thinking at present that Isaiah 1:1 through 6 sets the
tone of how we should understand sickness and pain that we read in Isaiah
noted earlier, God through Isaiah, told
verse 25, also like Isaiah 53, Peter calls his readers "sheep that
have gone astray," but now they have been "returned to the
Shepherd and Overseer of their souls."
Note that Peter calls Jesus a Shepherd and an Overseer.
Shepherds, overseers, elders, and pastors are all the same function
in the church. These are 4
different names for the same responsibility.
The KJV adds a fifth word, that is the word bishop.
So, we may have earthly pastors to care for Godís people, but
there is one Pastor (Shepherd - Overseer) that is far above these earthly
pastors. Once again, earthly
pastors cannot claim the people they care for as their own.
They are only minding the flock in the place of the Great Shepherd.
The flock belongs to Jesus.