1 Peter 4: Sharing the Sufferings of Jesus

There is so much to say about suffering in this chapter, but I am afraid with school activities and deadlines I do not have the time to do it justice.  Help me out!  Share with us today what you learned from this chapter.  Here are the verses I was drawn to today and a few initial and random thoughts about suffering faithfully.

So, then, just as the Messiah suffered in the flesh, you too must equip yourselves with the same mental armor. (4:1a)

Jesus had to suffer, so do we really think we will not?  But suffering is more successfully faced when he prepare our minds to face it.  It we run headlong into hard times clothed only with raw emotion, we should not be surprised when we come out cut, bruised and wounded.

Someone who suffers in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of their mortal life no longer according to human desires but according to God’s will. (4:1b-2)

Suffering trains the heart and equips us to overcome the weaknesses that allow sin to reside in our lives so easily.  Suffering may be as pleasant as working out is for many of us, but it may also be as beneficial in the long run.

They will have to account for it [the curses of sinful people] before the one who is ready to judge the living and the dead. (4:5)

In the middle of all of this talk about suffering, Peter reminds us God gets the last word.  Justice will come in the end.

Keep absolutely firm in your love for one another, because “love covers a multitude of sins.”  Be hospitable to one another without complaining.  Just as each of you has received a gift, so you should use it for ministry to one another. (4:8-10)

We can’t face suffering alone.  We need the fellowship of others.

Beloved, don’t be surprised at the fiery ordeal which is coming upon you to test you, as though this were some strange thing that was happening to you. (4:12)

Suffering tests and reveals how genuine our faith really is.  That can be a scary outcome.  It can also be a blessing.

You are sharing the sufferings of the Messiah. (4:13)

It is one thing to benefit from the sufferings of Jesus.  What an esteemed calling to also share in those sufferings, to actually be able to say we know a piece of what Jesus went through!

Caravaggio, “The Crucifixion of Peter” — Peter knew something about “sharing the sufferings of Jesus,” tradition says Peter was crucified in imitation of Jesus, but upside down because he protested that he was not worthy to be crucified the same way Jesus was

What stood out to you today?  

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3 thoughts on “1 Peter 4: Sharing the Sufferings of Jesus

  1. susan rubio

    I never read about suffering without thinking of my Mom. Soon to be 85, Mom has suffered for many years with physical pain. Routinely, I’ve called and asked, “How are you, Mom?” When she leaves this earth, I’ll miss her constant reply, “I’m Wuuuuuuunderful.” After further conversation or in talking with my dad, I would learn the truth about the intense level of pain she’d endured earlier that day or the prior evening. I’ll never forget a moment many years ago when I was consoling Mom after the loss of yet another activity she so loved, first her tennis, then her golf, finally even her annual shell-gathering walks on the beach. Mom said, “It’s nothing compared to the pain my Lord suffered; I consider my small suffering a sharing in His.”

    Recently Mom suffered another even more severe type of pain. Her daughter, my only sister, passed from this life to the next. I went by to check on my mom and found her sitting on the stool where she had so often talked with my sister. Mom was looking at an empty chair. I said, as usual, “How are you, Mom?” Not wonderful this time. “I’m at peace, but I can’t seem to find my joy. I miss my joy.”

    “I’m sorry, Mom.”

    The following day Mom left a message on my phone. She was singing, “I’ve got the joy joy joy joy down in my heart.” When I called her excitedly and asked where she found it, Mom said, “I guess someone’s been praying for me.”

    I have learned much about living well and dying well from my mom. I want to be “Wuuuuuuuuuuderful” regardless of the moment’s pain. A sharing in my Lord’s and in each other’s suffering might just be the key to this wonderful life.

    Happy Homecoming Week, Jason!

    • Jason Knight

      Bless you, Susan, for sharing this wonderful personal story. What a great family you have!

  2. I love the clarity of these verses on the discipling purpose of suffering: “Think of your sufferings as a weaning from the old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.”

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