When my oldest sister’s biopsy revealed cancer in late February 2017, I remarked to friends, “I need to spend as much time with Carolyn as possible—starting now.” Some told me my feelings were an overreaction to the news. But she died within ten months. And even though I had spent hours with her, when we love someone there’s never enough time for our hearts to love enough.
The apostle Peter called Jesus’s followers in the early church to “love each other deeply” (1 Peter 4:8). They were suffering under persecution and needed the love of their brothers and sisters in their Christian community more than ever. Because God had poured His own love into their hearts, they would then want to love others in return. Their love would be expressed through praying, offering gracious hospitality, and gentle and truthful conversation—all in the strength God provided (vv. 9–11). Through His grace, God had gifted them to sacrificially serve each other for His good purposes. So that “in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ” (v. 11). This is God’s powerful plan that accomplishes His will through us.
We need others and they need us. Let’s use whatever time or resources we have received from God to love—starting now.
How have others loved you well? What have you received from God that you might use to serve someone today?
– Francis de Sales
Peter’s letter is intriguing in part because of its intended audience. First Peter 1:1 says he was writing to “exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.” These were the five Roman provinces of Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). This is interesting because Peter’s ministry was primarily to the Jews, and Paul was the apostle to the gentiles (Galatians 2:9). As such, much of Paul’s missionary activity took the gospel to the very places to which Peter now wrote. These same regions of Asia Minor had previously received a letter from Paul (Galatians 1:1–2). This shows that, although having distinct missions, Paul and Peter had a shared concern for the churches of Galatia, perhaps because the largely gentile congregations there had been infused with Jewish exiles who had fled Jerusalem—forming truly multi-ethnic churches.
To learn more about how geography affects our understanding of the Bible visit christianuniversity.org/NT110.