Humor can be cruel. Often it is aimed at an individual who is different than us. Sometimes cruel humor helps us avoid our own insecurities. Humor can be quite painful at times. However, it the cruelty that wraps itself in humor that becomes something completely different. It leads to diminishing of others, not just for a laugh (though that can be quite painful), but for a lifetime. It also leads to blindness, especially blindness to truth.
Crucifixion was not uncommon in Jesus’ day. It was designed to be what it was…a murderous spectacle. Yet, there were certain things that were added on to it that were not normal: the purple robe, being hailed as “King of the Jews,” the crown of thorns. The soldiers mocked him. The Jewish leaders mocked him. The people mocked him. In the people’s defense, their fear of both the Roman soldiers and the Jewish leaders put them in a situation were likely many of them felt as if they had no choice but to join the mocking. However, just like many of us, this doesn’t particularly excuse it.
By the time of Peter’s letter, the return of the Lord seemed that it would never happen. The people, therefore, were being mocked for their expectation. In addition, because their expectation was “obviously” false, their way of life and their beliefs were also mocked.
Peter seeks to remind them that God’s words never return void (Isaiah 55:11). By implication, he is pointing out that God’s promises have come true. By implication, he also points out that the Prophets often did not know the exact timing, just that God was moving. That was the same situation that the church was experiencing. God was moving, it was just not the way and the when they were expecting.
As Peter also felt the need to reinforce “the Word” conveys some concern the people were diminishing the truth and/or the validity of the Scriptures. Just like many of us are experiencing in this day and age. We experience the scoffers and the doubters, who look at us and the Scriptures and shake their heads in despair of us. They pity us. As belief in the Truth of Christianity wanes, we approach the disbelief alive at the time of Peter (though there is a long way to go). It becomes progressively harder as the ratio of believer to non-believer changes amongst our families, friends, coworkers.
1) How do you maintain your trust in the Word in the midst of all this disbelief?
2) What other concerns do you think Peter had in this passage?
3) Have you ever been mocked or scorned? How about for your faith?