Campfire Scripture: The word of God and a warm fire under the stars, can it get much better?
Book Author and Date:
Peter, the courageous leader of the apostles of Jesus Christ. Good authority has it that he refused to be crucified as Christ was, so he was crucified upside down, after being forced to watch his own wife’s crucifixion.
1 and 2 Peter were accepted into Biblical canon with no degree of certainty, 2 Peter especially was hotly contested. Peter was a prominent figure, so naturally heaps of phoneys had a vested interest in attributing their works to Peter on the sly. So the early church father’s understandably had a tough time deciding which letters were genuinely written by Peter and which ones were fake. Nonetheless 1 Peter was included, and as Christians we have good reason to trust the early church fathers judgement. The evidence in favour of Peter’s authorship is still convincing today. It was most likely written sometime between 62-64 A.D.
Persecution, Suffrage, Commitment, Righteousness.
There was a lot working against the apostles in the first century A.D. such as the horrendous persecution under the emperor Nero. Christians were being tied to stake and gored by bulls, and being burned alive. This epistle is all about finding strength during this time. The verse above fits perfectly into this theme.
What I Reckon:
I honestly reckon a lot about this verse. My opinions about what this verse, and others like it, imply is not popular. What I think this verse implies for many Christians today is something I almost don’t want to share, because it might hurt people, and I mean really upset them.
Look. I’m not trying to say that Christ is not concerned about your ‘struggles’ whatever they are. He does. But biblically speaking, your ‘struggles’ are your sin. When Christ said:
28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
He was talking about your sin, he was talking about the guilt and shame of your sin. If you want to get really specific he was talking about the burden associated with the layers of fine print laid into the Torah by the pharisee’s and sadducee’s. Christ was coming with a message that God judges the intentions of your heart. He knows that it’s impossible to meet the standards of God’s law, and in our fallen state no less. He came to call you to turn from your sin and trust in Him to save you, because the law could not. Christ came to free you from the burden of your sins.
He wasn’t necessarily talking about your current ‘situation’ in life. This verse demonstrates better than most that not only did Christ not promise that your life would be a bed of roses once you came to Him, but actually that if it came to it, when you suffered persecution for His sake, you should count this as a blessing!
I’m not here to shout you down about the very legitimate stressors, and troubling times in your life. We all deal with heart ache, and adversity. I’m not saying that you should somehow embrace them, or just ‘harden the F$%K up’, or whatever.
But you have to understand that in light of the forgiveness of your sins, and being reconciled to God through Christ, all else ought to pale by comparison. Not only that, but if the only hope you have in Christ is to fix whatever problems are going on in your life right now (I was really tempted to use the word ‘boo boo’s’ BTW), then you miss the whole point of the Gospel message.
I write this with a heavy heart. The man in me really wants to just tell you to suck it up, and the compassion in me wants to hold back and try to be understanding, and to pacify you. But then right in the middle of that I can see the truth, the truth that if you seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all these things will be given to you aswell, and by ‘these things’ I mean the easing of the burden of whatever is going on in your life right now.
If all you care about are your ‘struggles’, and by struggles I don’t mean your sin, I mean your life problems, then it’s no wonder that they are consuming your life. If you put Christ before all of your suffering, then you’ll see that the joy of eternal life and being reconciled to the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ should take an enormous amount of the sting out of whatever suffering you have to endure in this life.
Sorry this one was a long one, but this is an important message.
All Campfire Scripture passages are taken from the New American Standard Bible, unless otherwise stated.
John MacArthur, 2006, The MacArthur Study Bible, New American Standard Bible (1995 edition).