Shining for Jesus in all we do

1 Peter 2:11-25 – Shining for Jesus in all we do, by Rev. Colin Pretorius.

Some of the worst crimes against humanity occurred in the 16th to 19th centuries when the slave trade was at its height. Millions upon millions of people – men, women and children – were en­slaved, sold as property and in many cases abused. Families were separated, many never to see each other again. In her book “The bow in the cloud” Bonnie Barton describes how Anthony, a slave brought to Denmark by his master, heard the good tidings of great joy and came to faith.[1] He spoke of his desire to see his enslaved sister brought to faith on the island of St Thomas, where there were many slaves. He later brought the same message to a public meeting of the Moravian church in Ger­ma­ny, seeking their help in bringing the gospel to the slaves in his homeland. But he also warned that the slaves were so severely worked by their masters that anyone going there would have little opportunity of spreading the good news of Jesus – that is, unless they would consent to become slaves themselves and work with the slaves in the fields.[2] This didn’t deter two men from declaring their willingness to submit themselves to this indignity and suffering if that gave them the oppor­tu­ni­ty to share the glory and the sacrifice of Christ. Their submission to the instruction of Jesus to go out and make disciples of all nations flowed out into submission to in­dig­nity and suffering on His be­half and for His sake. And the fruit of that unselfish labour became visible almost as soon as they landed in St Thomas.[3]  The voice of God came to the slaves of that island because of the willingness of these two men to sacrifice even their freedom in order to gain souls for the Lord. Their actions ex­pressed their belief in the urgency of people coming to a saving faith in Jesus.

And friends, when we read the letters of the apostle Peter we realise that one of his major themes is that we as believers should live out our faith. He certainly encourages the dispersed exiled believ­ers by reminding them of the great mercy of God in causing them to be born again to a living hope and an imperishable inheritance,[4] but he also urges them to live out their salvation in a very practi­cal way.[5] And in the passage at which we’re looking today, he wants people to know how as be­liev­ers, they should walk on the road that God has put before them. He’s encouraging them – and us – to shine for Jesus, in their personal lives, in their submission to authority and in their attitude of hu­mi­­lity or servanthood. To put it another way, this passage has to do with serving Jesus by how we live our lives in terms of:

  • Personal conduct (v11-12);
  • Submission to authority (v13-17); and
  • Servanthood (v18-25).


[1] Bonnie Barton, The Bow in the Cloud: Negro’s Memorial (London: Jackson and Walford, 1834), 1-24.

[2] Barton, Bow, 4-5.

[3] Mark Allan Noll, The Rise of Evangelicalism: The Age of Edwards, Whitefield and the Wesleys (A History of Evangelicalism). (IVP, 2010), 161-162.

[4] 1 Peter 1:3-4.

[5] Eg.1 Peter 1:14-17, 22, 2:1ff.