Inherited Blessing

1 Peter 3: 9

… not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

Well, if you read yesterday’s Word of the Day you might have thought the Apostle Peter was going through a period of insanity when he wrote verse 8. Look at today’s verse, though. Now, I am convinced that Peter was suffering under some sort of mental illness. Of course we respond with insult when insulted and of course we fight when assaulted. What is Peter thinking? He wants us to give a blessing when we are assailed by evil or insulted? What? This guy has been listening to Jesus too much!

Well, of course, there is no such thing as listening to Jesus too much. There is only too little. When the Roman cohort went to the garden to arrest Jesus, one of Jesus’ followers drew his sword and removed the ear of the servant of the high priest (Matthew 26: 51). Guess who that sword wielding follower was. If you guessed Peter, you would be right. He was not a man who, by his own nature, returned a blessing for a threat. None the less, in his letter that is exactly what he implores us to do. What changed?

Peter was a man of great passion. He was not given to pensiveness, subtlety or passivity and yet his lesson to us is to refrain from acts of vengeance and agression. What was it that he learned that caused such a drastic change in him? While true, it is perhaps a bit simplistic to simply answer that he learned Jesus.

I believe that which marked Peter as a changed man is that he learned the Kingdom of God and that he came to have a deep understanding and revelation of the Parable of the Seed. This parable is, in fact, the model of the Kingdom of God. As you sow, so shall you reap. Sometimes I think the crop is even larger and more tasty when the seed sown is in response to adversity. Jesus said, “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?  Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others?  Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” (Matthew 5: 46 – 47).

Do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. I say to you, love your enemies , and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5: 39, 44). This teaching did not sink into Peter’s spirit the first time he heard it. Perhaps it didn’t become a revelation even the twelfth time he heard it. However, by the time he wrote his first letter to the church, he had come to appreciate the power and truth in Jesus’ words. Peter experienced living in grace and learned to extend grace. He came to know the authority that resides in Jesus’ commands. We can live through Peter’s experience and follow his advice or we can continue to wade through life until by some miracle we experience the same epiphany. It seems it would be much easier for us to simply take Jesus and Peter at their word. Each of them point us in the direction of life and blessing. They want what is best for us. Peter summed it up well, this advice is given to us so that we “might inherit a blessing.”