Once a week, we a small ekklesia, are looking at an amazing scriptural letter by Peter who described himself as an apostle (a sent messenger) of Jesus Christ. He wrote to people he describes as aliens, strangers, they don’t belong here. How can that be?
He wanted to encourage them, to prepare them, for a most important, earth-shattering event was soon to take place. Terrible judgment was about to come on many back in Jerusalem and Judea. The temple and the Jewish religion as known for centuries, Judaism, would be destroyed and replaced by a new creation. This would also seriously impact them and many traditional Jews where they lived.
We read they were in various places, scattered throughout Pontos, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. These were real places in the Ancient World. It’s interesting if you check Acts chapter 2 you find those same places mentioned among the many other regions, from which people had come to Jerusalem for the Jewish Feast of Pentecost. Acts 2 describes how on that day the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them.
So Peter was addressing some of those same people who had heard him proclaiming on that day some 25 or 30 years previously. These would have gone back to their homelands and no doubt bore witnesses for Jesus by the power of the Spirit where they lived.
Peter calls them chosen by God the Father, sanctified by the Holy Spirit and sprinkled with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. This was amazing thinking for a man who was still ‘Jewish’ (as most early believers were) to put Jesus alongside the Holy Spirit and the eternal living Lord God, the Father. One God.
Here we see a a typical salutation of a letter in the Ancient World.
Peter then reminded them about the living hope that they had through Christ’s resurrection. The resurrection is the basis of the way, the truth and the great story of Jesus. Without the resurrection there would be no faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. There would be no Christians.
They had been truly reborn through God’s great mercy! We are all utterly dependent on his mercy. Born again to a living hope through Jesus’ resurrection of Jesus. Remember that happened only 25 or 30 years previous to his writing!
For us, it’s now 2000 years ago. That time lapse makes it harder for us but for these people it was fresh in their memory. Just think, you can remember so many things clearly that happened 25 or 30 years ago in your life.
Jesus had been killed and then came alive!
Peter’s readers are described as a possessing an inheritance that is reserved safely in heaven for them. They were already enjoying that sure hope! They were strangers and aliens here on Earth, like we are today but there’s an inheritance waiting for us who believe that’s reserved for us in heaven too! What a fabulous investment.
In the meantime, these aliens were protected by the power of God through faith for a full salvation he says is ‘ready to be revealed in the last time’. They believed they were in the ‘last days’ when their salvation would be revealed.
Peter mentioned this idea of the ‘last time’ several times in his writings. This salvation ready to be revealed the original word is apocalypse. That brings to mind the time of the end. Peter saw his writing as fitting into that period. His readers could greatly rejoice in this understanding, even though now for a ‘little while’, short time—not a long, long time.
A little while and then things will radically change for them. If this mighty change was in a little while for them, how can it be soon for us today?
For a short time they will have various trials. Difficulties will prove the genuineness of their faith. Really it’s when we are subject to trials that our faith is is proven, tried out.
That experience, that assurance is much more precious than gold which is perishable. Peter reminded them that the testing by fire would be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation (apocalypse) of Jesus Christ.
His appearing, his coming and Peter goes on to say that although you have not seen him you love him and though you do not see him now you believe in him and you greatly rejoice with joy in express expressible and full of glory.
He went on to talk more about this wondrous salvation now experienced by God’s people. All those OT prophets prophesied of the grace that would come. They tried to work out this mystery. We had studied them together—how they accurately foretold the coming of the messiah and the suffering that he would experience.
They never experienced what these Peter wrote to had experienced. Even the angels in heaven were ignorant of what those early believers understood. So us also today!
In view of what will take place ‘in a little while’, Peter goes on to appeal to them to modify their behaviour, to prepare themselves for action, and fix their hope completely on the grace about to be brought to you at the revelation (apocalypse) of Jesus Christ.
Clearly they were expecting the coming, the revealing, of Jesus within their lifetime. They must not be conformed to the former life which they had in their ignorance. and so they needed to conduct themselves appropriately during the (very short) time of their stay on the Earth.
|Today we too must be prepared. We too must live appropriately. We also are not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from a futile way of life inherited from our forebears. We too have just a little while! The Father will impartially judge according to each person’s work, Peter reminds us. For “all flesh is as grass and withers. But the word of the Lord abides forever.”|