Apostle Shuffle 2

Posted: December 3, 2018 by Ty in Brunch & Bible, Spirituality
Tags: , , , , ,

Scholars believe Peter, the one that is held as the Apostolic Succession by the Roman Catholic Church, wrote these words in 1 Peter between 60-64 CE, in the seat of Imperial power, Rome. As has been noted in earlier posts there were many different types of Christianities all existing under one huge umbrella. Peter’s as seen in the first chapter held to the teachings of the Hebrew Bible, but also to the life, teachings, and death of Jesus of Nazareth. What is lost in translation, is that the simple fact of the “gospel” they chose to live as followers of the Way was an act of treason. Say what?

Yes, you read that right. TREASON. See the term gospel is a political proclamation. The way the followers of Jesus of Nazareth deemed to live was in direct confrontation and contradiction to the Emperor’s Gospel. It created a scenario where in different jurisdictions persecution, imprisonment and even execution was valid. Paul, when he was Saul was a lead inquisitor from religious oppression on this front (and it was one of the reasons the other Apostle’s struggled with trusting him). In 64 CE Nero’s contempt and rage would reach a crescendo as he attempted to cover up his own burning of Rome, and yes it would lead to the execution of Peter.

Yet Peter still brings these words to the second chapter:

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture:

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
    a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,

“The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone,”[a]

and

“A stone of stumbling,
    and a rock of offense.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

-1 Peter 2:1-12 (English Standard Version)

Peter dives into personal holistic formation. A rebuilding of the self within the new reality of wholeness. As the Holy Spirit/Breath has been attuned within you. That’s right, it has always been there, but now you are aware and living in the Oneness with God. All the religious barriers created were thrown away. It was about being the Law and the Prophets as Brother Jesus had brought them together in the Great Commandments of Love-God, Neighbour and Self. This is what we are now living into, and living out of. By doing this, even if you are not understood or seen as weird, what cannot be questioned is the actions of compassion. Even when those actions destroy and eliminate societal levels creating a community where all belong.

Spiritual formation. Holistic health. Mentoring. Or to use a Biblical word- discipleship. Not about huge numbers, but about a depth of character created that makes a true positive and holy change in the world.

13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,[b] whether it be to the emperor[c] as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants[d] of God.17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

-1 Peter 2:13-25 (ESV)

This is a passage that can be used for evil (ala weaponized) so easily to create sheeple. For it sounds like Peter is telling his gathering to surrender and do whatever the government and other institutions tell them to do. Whether it is right or not. Think of how this has played out in time with slavery, holocausts, genocides, sexual abuse cover ups (and the list can go on). In a way saying that you cannot question authority. But that is a shallow and twisted hearing of the words for a man that lost his life to stand against the Empire.

Look at the key words: Do good, Love, Live as a free people. People in the Empire were not free, they were controlled by a strong caste system, and many were seen as nothing more than property. Things were hard to change in the era. But these key words are inspirational to those that want to bring change. Stand firm in your belief of faith, know that it will be challenging (as the second piece walks one through what happened to Jesus with his stance of equality, justice, and love).

It is about throwing off the oppressive labels and shackles that still exist in this day and age. What stigma causing labels are holding you back? Do you accept them, but know that you are just how you are meant to be? Or do you hear the words of Peter and live into the defeat that the labels are used to bring about?

It is the choice between light and darkness. For darkness exists because the hope has been snuffed out. One is left to believe that their life is dark and defeated, hopeless. No hope to return. This is what Peter is saying, there is hope. You have done the work destroying the sludge that had buried the light of your soul. Let that light shine, and know that change will happen.

Will you choose to live the light?

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