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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson


Free daily Bible notes

1 Peter 2:19-23: Follow Jesus

“19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.22 ‘He committed no sin,and no deceit was found in his mouth.’23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” NIV

Jesus is our example in life. He is our pattern. It needs to be emphasised that He is more than just a good example. He is also our Saviour, and in verses 24, 25 we will go on to consider some of the theological implications of His death. Try as we may, we can’t come anywhere near to following Jesus’ example successfully, until we first come to know Him as Saviour.

Peter is writing at this point to Christian slaves. Many slaves were well-treated in those days, but not all of them. So what does Peter have to say to those who experience ‘’unjust suffering’’ (19)? In essence he says, ‘Follow Jesus.’ Jesus was perfect (which not even the best of us are), and He was unfairly treated. He suffered so much at the hands of sinful people. But Jesus did not hit back. Instead, He entrusted Himself to the God who always ‘’judges justly’’ (23). We know that He was vindicated. Bad men put Him to death, but a good God raised Him, and put Him on the throne of the universe. As someone said, Jesus’ resurrection is ‘the divine reversal of the human verdict’ on Him.

‘So there is your template’, says Peter. ‘Don’t retaliate, but commit yourself to God.’ The example of Jesus shows that all who do this will be in safe Hands.


1 Peter 2:1: Putting out the rubbish.

“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”NIV

‘’Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.’’

 Note the words ‘’all’’ and ‘’every’’. Take no prisoners! Show sin no mercy. Everything that needs to go should be shown the door. We need to live in an atmosphere of radical repentance.

In our homes, we regularly put out the rubbish. Imagine what it would do to the atmosphere if we didn’t. What a smell there would be. Peter tells us to put out all the sinful rubbish, knowing that we can do so as brand new people in Christ. (We have been ‘’born again’’ 1:23).

These are not the only sins people are capable of, but they are among those which ruin relationships – and in the next section he is going to write about the church.

It strikes me that we do need to distinguish between temptation and giving way to it. I’d be surprised if any Christian hasn’t felt tempted at times to hold on to resentment for example, or to be envious of someone else. But it’s one thing to feel the pull of temptation; quite another to give in.

‘Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin,’ says a famous hymn. (I’ve underlined the operative word).

Martin Luther apparently said, ‘You can’t prevent the birds from flying about your head, but you can prevent them building a nest in your hair.’

PRAYER: Lord, please help me by your Spirit to not let the smelly rubbish accumulate in my life. Strengthen me to keep on putting it in the bin – where it belongs!

1 Peter 2:1-3: Grow up!

“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”NIV

Following on from yesterday, I was thinking about Paul writing:

‘’This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.’’ (2 Timothy 2:8b/9).

We may be confined and restricted, but God’s Word isn’t. It is very much alive and active in the world

Spiritual growth is not automatic. There are certain things we have to do (‘’…rid yourselves…crave…’’). Once again we find that the Bible, which is instrumental in our new birth, is also essential for our growth to maturity. Everyone loves a baby, but there is something quite wrong if the baby stays a baby; and there is something grotesquely sad about an adult who still behaves like he’s back in the nursery.

No, growth is not automatic. But it is wonderfully possible. Peter knows this. He is going to write in his second letter:

‘’His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness’’ (2 Peter 1:3).

We have the power supply for growth, and this is very good news.

Warren Wiersbe writes:

‘Just as a baby has an appetite for the mother’s milk, so the child of God has an appetite for the Father’s Word. If you lose that appetite and stop growing, check to see if any of the sins listed in verse 1 are infecting your life.’

‘’So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.’’ The Message.

PRAYER: Lord God, may it be true of me that I ‘’crave’’ your Word.

1 Peter 1:22-25: “Word” Power

“22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For,‘All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall,25  but the word of the Lord endures for ever.’And this is the word that was preached to you.” NIV

Here is incentive enough, if we should require it, to go on ‘preaching’ God’s Word, whether formally in public, or informally one-to-one. There is power in His Word. There is life in the ‘’seed’’. Mysteriously, and wonderfully, it produces Christians. People are ‘’born again’’ by it. It has been said that God’s Word is His work.

‘’He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29).

The ‘’word of the Lord’’ is also described as ‘’the truth’’ in this passage. Not only are people converted by God’s Word; they are also transformed by it. As we ‘obey’ it, we become more ‘’deeply’’ loving (22). Christianity changes ‘’the heart’’ and we are enabled to live obediently and lovingly out of changed hearts.

In a book I’m reading at the moment, the author comments that in evangelical Christianity we have been too quick to measure spiritual growth in terms of how much we know, rather than how well we love. Knowing is important, but it has to lead somewhere.

Pause to ponder: What does loving ‘’one another deeply, from the heart’’ look like for you in these days of ‘social isolation’?

PRAYER: Lord, Peter gives a timely reminder of the transience of wealth and of people. Thank you that he points beyond this impermanence to the enduring quality of your Word. It is encouraging to know that the ‘seeds’ we sow now, may well bear fruit long after we have gone.


1 Peter 1:7: A spiritual bank statement.

“7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.” NIV

As I reflected on this verse, three thoughts seemed to stand out:

  1. The value of faith: We are once again reminded of the transience of earthly wealth. It can sprout wings and fly away. Even something mankind prizes as much as gold can ‘perish’ Hebrews 11:6 says: ‘’And without faith it is impossible to please God…’’ This faith, which is God’s gift in the first place, is so precious. If you are believing in the temporarily hidden Jesus (8), this makes you (and everyone else who shares the same faith) the wealthiest person in the world. This faith is not subject to stock-market fluctuations. It’s value cannot plummet;
  2. The durability of faith: Faith has to persevere through trials and tests in order to ‘’be proved genuine’’. God doesn’t need to test your faith so that He can find out how much faith you’ve got. He knows that full well. But it provides you with a sort of spiritual ‘bank statement’. Faith which goes through the mill and comes out strong the other side is ‘’genuine’’.
  3. The glory of faith: When Jesus Christ returns, as He one day will (‘’when Jesus Christ is revealed’’) our faith – our enduring faith – will bring glory to Him. He gave it to us in the first place, and He kept us strong to the end. It’s all glory to Him. This is the glory of genuine faith, that it brings glory to Jesus.

‘’ I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.’’ (The Message 1 Peter 6-7).

Today’s prayer is based on verse 5 : “ who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”, and was suggested to me by a comment Jilly made on Monday morning:

PRAYER: Lord, we often hear talk about certain people in our society being ‘shielded’. Thank you that all your people are ‘’shielded’’ by your ‘’power’’. I know this doesn’t necessarily mean that we will be able to avoid all sickness, or to cheat death. But thank you that in ultimate terms we are safe in your eternal grip. As one great saint said: ‘All is well, and all manner of things shall be well.’ It is well with my soul.

1 Peter 1:6: ‘A little while’

“6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” NIV

It is true that ‘’all kinds of trials’’ beset Christians. Of course, no human-being can imagine themselves to be beyond the reach of testing times, and disciples of Jesus are definitely not immune.

The recipients of Peter’s letter knew the harsh reality of persecution for their faith. This should put our own circumstances into perspective. Without wanting to minimise the seriousness of the current situation, it is important to remember that many people were experiencing far worse things before the Coronavirus outbreak, and many will continue to do so when, God-willing, we are through this.

But this is a trying time, and in such a season the human heart tends to cry, ‘How long O Lord?’ At the moment, the immeasurable road seems to stretch out across a barren wilderness of isolation, and we can’t see a finishing line. However we need to know that all trials are temporary. They ‘come to pass’. From the vantage point of eternity, all earthly trials will seem short.

‘All my trials, Lord, soon be over.’

Furthermore, as loving believers in the hidden, living Christ, even in the middle of trying days, we can and should look forward to all we will enjoy when He returns.

PRAYER: Lord, in your mercy, please will you shorten these days of trial. We pray for many lives to be saved. Yet we do not want to find ourselves praying at odds with your purposes. We trust your infinite wisdom and ask for your will to be done. Give us grace, please, to rejoice in you in every trial.

1 Peter 1:2: He is Lord

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,To God’s elect, exiles, scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” NIV

As I said yesterday, there may be much about ‘election’ – God’s choosing people – that no human can explain. But although we may not be able to give lots of details about how it happens, the Bible is clear in talking about the why. There are God-given purposes for His people to live out in the world; there are destinies to be fulfilled.

Peter says Christians ‘’…have been chosen…for obedience to Jesus Christ…’’

Today we may be facing different circumstances within the overall call to isolate and live responsibly. Some are working from home; some are home-schooling children; some are having to juggle both. There are so many variables. Some people are facing economic challenges; others are battling with health issues unrelated to Covid-19. Then there are those who have to go out to work. They are front-line workers, and we are all so dependent on their service, and grateful for their dedication.

But wherever you are today, and whatever you are doing, may I encourage you to try to think through what ‘’obedience to Jesus Christ’’ looks like in your setting?

PRAYER: Lord, in your grace you have called me to yourself, AND you have called me to a great purpose. Teach me what it means to obey you today, right where you have planted me. Help me to do your will. As your disciple, it is what I want most of all in this life.

John 13:2, 10,11: One step ahead.

John 13:2, 10,11: One step ahead.

 “It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.” NIV

It is impossible to make sense of the evil in the world without reference to that malevolent personality we call the devil. He is not merely an influence; a force for badness. He is a real, intelligent being who can ‘prompt’ people to do wrong (2). Even though he is unseen, his presence cannot be always hidden.

”The devil had already put the idea of betraying him into the heart of Judas…” (Tom Wright). 

Wright says Judas allowed ”the devil’s whispered suggestion to gain a foothold in his imagination…notice how evil creeps in between the cracks at the very moment when love is going to the limit.” ‘John for everyone’, p.45.

You may be aware of ‘ideas’ planted in your heart by the arch-imposter – things you are thinking and feeling that you know to be wrong. Don’t play with them. Don’t toy with them. Declare war on them in the Name of Jesus. Nail them to the cross. Do it to them before they do it to you! Don’t allow sinful thoughts to nest in your soul and hatch their poisonous eggs.

Take heart though. Whatever Satan plans to do, Jesus is one step ahead of him. He knows what is going to happen, and what He permits He uses for His glory.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me when I see things inside me I should not tolerate. Enable me to be ruthless in identifying and rooting out those ‘seeds’ planted by the evil one.

John 12:12-16: The palm and the donkey!

John 12:12-16: The palm and the donkey!

12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,“Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!” 14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;see, your king is coming,seated on a donkey’s colt.”16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him. NIV

As I read this passage it struck me forcibly that here are two keys to living the Christian life, in all circumstances:

  1. Wave the palm branch (12, 13): Choose to be a praising person. And realise that praising Jesus also involves ‘going public’ about your faith in Him. It says here that ”the great crowd” were ”shouting”.  Later on we read that they ”continued to spread the word that he had called Lazarus from the tomb” (17).They were not ashamed to identify themselves with the Lord – to speak to Him and to speak about Him in praise. Their allegiance was highly audible and visible. I know it is sometimes said that the people in this welcoming group on Palm Sunday later were part of the throng baying for Jesus’ blood. But I don’t think the Bible ever explicitly says so. That may be the case. Or it may be true of some of them. But we cannot say it with any certainty. Taking this passage at face value, I simply want to highlight the good things we see here, and say, ”May we also wave our palm branches.” Jesus is worthy of all our praise.
  2. Ride the donkey (14-16). Take the humble, lowly path. True, in the Bible, the donkey is a magisterial beast, but less obviously so than a white charger! Jesus took the basin and towel and washed the feet of His disciples. He deliberately took upon Himself the task that was entrusted to the ‘least’ person. He came among us as One who serves, and He calls us to follow Him along this meek roadway (John 13:12-17). It does not lessen our authority in Christ, but all the more clearly defines it.

So, in all circumstances, choose to wave the palm branch and ride the donkey.

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