1 Peter 5 v 12 - 14

In signing off at the end of his letter, Peter indicates his reason for writing. Sending a letter was a laborious and, by today's standards, extremely inefficient way of communicating, but there was no other way. It involved having a supply of writing materials, but more importantly, having someone who was going to take the letter for you and who you could trust to deliver it to the right person. It is interesting to recall that Peter's profession was fisherman, but it is likely that he would have had some education in the Jewish religious schools before he went to work for his father around the age of thirteen. Silas was one of the pillars of the early church and we can read of him in Paul's letters and in the book of Acts. In Acts 15 he is called one of the leading men in the Christian community and he was also a prophet-Acts 15 v 32. He was Paul's right hand man for a length of time after Paul had separated from Barnabas due to an argument about Mark. He was a Roman citizen-Acts 16 v 37-which would have been his passport, along with Paul's citizenship, to almost any territory. It is probable that he would have been influential in assisting Peter to compose this missive. Peter ends by sending greetings from 'Babylon', a well known code word for Rome. In the NLT translation the greeting is said to be from 'your sister church', but there is no word for 'church' in Greek. It is quite likely that Peter is here referring to an individual, and that person may well have been his wife! It is recorded that she accompanied him on his journeys-1 Corinthians 9 v 5-and tradition informs us that she died a martyr's death. One of the surprises in studying the New Testament thoroughly is the numerous occasions when women are mentioned in being active in the Gospel, not-as was promulgated by my church when I was growing up-in subsidiary roles, but in active leadership. Paul writes in his wonderful chapter of acknowledgements in Romans 16 of Phoebe the deacon and of Junia (female), an apostle! In reading through the Gospel of Mark recently, I was reminded that it was the women disciples of Jesus who stood by the cross when Jesus was hung up to die (Mark 15 v 40, 41). It amazes me that for so long their involvement has been reduced to the margins! As Peter signs off, we are reminded that those to whom he writes face a precarious future-persecution abounds-and he commends them to Almighty God's grace.

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