Enduring unjust suffering is part of the path we are called to walk because that is the path Jesus took to secure our salvation. Unjust suffering can also be the means of remarkable ministry in Jesus' name. Joseph Tson was a pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Oradea, Romania, until he was exiled by the government in 1981. He told this story: "I had a man in an important position whom I baptized come to me and ask, 'Now what shall I do? They will convene three or four thousand people to expose me and mock me. They will give me five minutes to defend myself. How should I do it?'"
"Brother," I told him, "defending yourself is the only thing you shouldn't do. This is your unique chance to tell them who you were before, and what Jesus madeof you; who Jesus is, and what he is for you now."
His face shone and he said, "Brother Joseph, I know what I am going to do." And he did it well - so well that afterwards he was severely demoted. He lost almost half of his salary. But he kept coming to me after that saying, "Brother Joseph, you know I cannot walk in that factory now without someone coming up to me. Wherever I go, somebody pulls me in a corner, looks around to see that nobody sees him talking to me, and then whispers, 'Give me the address of your church,' or 'Tell me more about Jesus,' or 'Do you have a Bible for me?'" We are sojourners here following in Jesus steps, and enduring suffering as He did is part of the journey.
Read I Peter 2:11-25.
- Verse 12 introduces a section of Peter's letter that has some very practical applications. We've looked at our relationship to civil authority (week of June 26-July 3) and today's text touches on workplace authority. What is Peter's exhortation in verse 18 and how would you put that in contemporary terms?
- Think back on your work history. Have you had "good and gentle" employers as well as "unjust" ones?
- The word for "unjust" (ESV) is a word that quite literally means crooked, unscrupulous, or dishonest. We get our word scoliosis from it. Have you ever served this kind of boss or employer?
3. What does respect look like in the workplace, especially with a boss who is unjust?
4. How might a Christian suffer under a crooked boss?
5. In verses 19-20 what response does the Lord call us to when we have a crooked boss?
6. What reason does Peter give for enduring suffering for doing good under an unjust employer? (v. 21).
7. How does Peter describe Jesus' example in verses 22-23?
8. In verses 24-25 what does Peter tell us about what Jesus has done for us?
- It seems that these lines in Peter's letter are informed by Isaiah 53:4-6. Take a moment to read that text in Isaiah.
- Is there a lesson here for you? What is it?
9. How does what Jesus did for us help us deal with difficulty workplace relationships?
10. How do you think Jesus wants you to follow in His footsteps in your place of work?
11. What one thing do you think the Lord wants you to remember and apply to your life from this passage?
God be with you, and see you on Sunday!