Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the emperor as the supreme authority or to governors as those sent out by him to punish those who do what is evil and to praise those who do what is good. For it is God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good. (1 Peter 2:13-15)
Pastor John’s Notes:
In the first century, Christians were thought of as a danger to Roman society because new converts to the faith would no longer worship the Roman deities. People began to wonder if this growing Jesus cult was a threat to the security of the empire. Peter wanted to defuse this suspicion and encouraged the new Christian believers to take special care to honor governing authorities.
Peter’s admonition echoes Jesus’ teaching regarding the religious leadership of Jerusalem. “The scribes and the Pharisees are seated in the chair of Moses. Therefore do whatever they tell you, and observe it. But don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they teach” (Matthew 23:1-3). Jesus also said to Pilate, “You have no authority except that it was given to you from above” (John 19:11). Worldly authorities are set in place by God, even those authorities that we consider secular, for all the world belongs to God.
Peter wants us to acknowledge that governing authorities have a role to play in God’s world. Specifically, they create a social order and a stable environment where the people of God can pursue a life of holiness and where the gospel can be proclaimed.
Lord, bless those who govern us with wisdom. Help them to see that their authority comes from you. Cast a blanket of peace over our troubled world that the gospel of Jesus Christ might be proclaimed and that the people of God might flourish in holiness.