I’ve been going through the book of 2 Peter in my podcast recently (check out the podcast here) and it's definitely been eye opening. God always has something to say when deeply studying the scriptures. But this one hit me right at the very beginning.
Peter starts by saying his name and then states his identity. This is not uncommon in the greco-roman world on letter writing, and even more so the specific words Peter uses to state his identity is not uncommon in the Scriptures. Peter says he is a slave and apostle of Jesus. James says a slave of Jesus, Jude as well says a slave of Jesus and brother of James. What's so astonishing about this I think is that they call themselves slaves. Who wants to be a slave right? Subject to the decisions of the one who is your master. Unable to have the ultimate say and sovereignty in your own life. Yet these men declare this as their first and foremost identity. Then Peter continues and he calls himself an apostle. We can assume he probably is speaking about his unique apostleship from Jesus yet this word apostle plainly means one who is sent. Peter is a messenger sent by Jesus. With the message of the gospel. Essentially he is a messenger slave.
This reminds me of that part in 300 where Leonidas kicks the messenger of King Axerxes into that huge pit and says “This is Sparta!!” Whether or not you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about! This was such an epic scene. But precedes it was the messenger bringing a word to Leonidas. Leonidas didn’t accept though and actually seized the messenger. The messenger cried out saying that no one harms a messenger, he is a representative of the King. I think that is what Peter is conveying as he opens this letter with those two things.
Peter is a property of the one true God with a message to those he was writing to. And the people who receive the letter should listen to him, because to accept him is to accept a word from the Lord. To not heed what he says would be to not heed what God has spoken.
I think we can take this two ways. First, when we don’t read and apply scripture to our lives we disregard the very words of God. We should never do that! God’s words bring life when obeyed but death when ignored. But second, we as christians are the same as Peter. Paul mentions us as both slaves and Ambassadors of Christ. That means that we have the protection and provision of Christ to carry out the duties he has called us to, namely sharing the gospel and discipling believers. Though, the words we speak may not be the very words of God, when we bring the truth of the scriptures to people as his ambassadors then in reality the words we speak are Gods. That’s incredible!
So I have to ask you, are you obeying the word of God as recorded in his scriptures? And are you representing God as he has called us to?