24/7/11 Isaiah 40-42; 1 Peter 3
S: 1 Peter 3:9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.
1 Peter 3:13-17 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!
O: Peter had had already a small taste of this with the Sanhedrin, and he will have an even greater taste of it in the upcoming Great Tribulation under Nero. But by and large, he lived what he preached, and made disciples of Christ in many places, and eventually, church history tells us, in Rome.
According to church history, Peter managed to leave Rome when Nero started his persecution of Christians, but on his way out, he had a vision where he met Jesus heading into Rome. Peter asked Jesus, "Where are you going, Lord?" Jesus said, "I am going back to be crucified again", which makes Peter go back to Rome and accept martyrdom. He was crucified upside-down because he did not consider himself worthy to die in the same manner as our Lord.
Many people came to Christ because Peter and the other Christians lived out these verses. Romans seeing Christians die for their faith bravely with words that echo Jesus, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do" came to Christ in large numbers in spite of the persecution.
Eventually, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire 3 centuries later. (This was very good for the well-being of the citizens and subjects of Rome; however, it unfortunately opened the door for corruption into the church. Based on the historical experience, I would oppose making Christianity the official religion of Malaysia because it would be bad for the church.)
By the way, there is an excellent novel that includes that scene, set just before and during the time of Nero the antichrist's Great Tribulation, called Quo Vadis. The copyright has expired, so you can download it for free -- see the links at the bottom of the Wikipeda page on this novel.
A: It's not easy to return good for evil, but Christ calls us to do so. If we do what is right and are persecuted for it, so be it.
P: Father, help me to live up to this. It's so much in my natural reactions to return evil for evil, but that's not what You called us to. In Jesus' name, amen.