Devotional for Thursday, June 21, 2012
Twilight: We're Fanatics About Doing Good
by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Peter's first epistle is addressed to "strangers in the world," who have their homeland in heaven. They are not surprised that they suffer when they do what is right. They follow the footprints of Jesus.
1 Peter 3:13–17
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer ... you are blessed (1 Pet. 3:13).
"Eager to do good" is too weak a translation. Peter actually says, "Who will harm you when you are a zealot for what is good?" And a zealot is a fanatic.
You probably know that Jesus had two disciples named Simon. In order to distinguish them, one was called Simon Peter and the other Simon the Zealot (Luke 6:15). He was called "the Zealot" because he belonged to a party that ardently desired and incessantly worked for the overthrow of the Romans, who occupied the country. Everyone wanted to get rid of the Romans, but the Zealots were willing to put life and limb on the line to drive them out. if they could.
Now Peter says, Who can hurt you if you are a zealot for doing what's right? And even if someone makes you suffer - and some people will - you are still blessed. You are on the side of the angels and of Jesus himself. Jesus suffered at the hands of evildoers while doing good. You cannot lose when you are on the side of Jesus.
Most people claim to do what's right and loudly condemn evil. But they are flexible. They close an eye and soothe their conscience when a little evil is profitable to them. They do what's popular rather than what is right.
Christians train to be zealots about doing good. We put life and limb on the line. We do what's right even if it costs us a lot of money.