1 Peter chapter 1.
1 Peter begins with the words, "From Peter, an apostle of Jesus the Anointed one, to the chosen ones who have been scattered abroad like "seed" into the nations..." The story of Peter is a story of redemption. He was a man with great intentions, the first disciple called by Jesus to follow Him. Yet Peter denied Jesus three times in the early morning leading up to His crucifixion. As we recently read in Matthew's gospel, Chapter 26:33, Peter said he would never leave Jesus, to which Jesus replied in verse 34, "this very night before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." Yet, just three days later, the morning of His resurrection, Mary Magdalene and the other women who came to Jesus' tomb were told by the angels "He isn't here - he has risen victoriously! Look! See, the place where they laid him. "Run and tell his disciples, EVEN PETER (insert, Even ME) that he is risen." Jesus had already forgiven Peter before Peter even had opportunity to ask for it. Awhile later, as recorded in John 21, Jesus restores Peter by asking Him three times, "do you love me? The first two times, Jesus uses the word Agape (unconditional, committed love) and Peter replies, "Yes Lord, you know that I love (philia or brotherly love) you." The third time, Jesus asks Peter, "Do you love (philia) me? And Peter answers, "Yes, Lord, I have great affection for you." It is the best Peter can do at that moment. He betrayed Jesus three times, and three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, drawing him into an agape love, but Peter did not yet have the power of the Holy Spirit, he did not know the extent to which he could truly love Jesus, yet Jesus charged Peter to "feed My sheep" knowing the leader and protector that Peter would become once the Holy Spirit descended on him and the disciples. God redeems us when we turn back to him. Because of his great agape love for us, our holiness is God's desire for us. Peter writes in 1:2, "The Holy Spirit has set you apart to be God's holy ones, obedient followers of Jesus Christ who have been gloriously sprinkled with his blood." Verse 3 tells us to "celebrate with praises the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has shown us his extravagant mercy. For his Fountain of mercy has given us a new life, we are reborn to experience a living energetic hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We are reborn into a perfect inheritance that can Never perish, Never be defiled, and Never diminish. It is promised and preserved FOREVER in the heavenly realm for you"...(The Passion translation, emphasis mine) If all this is true, dear heart, what are you striving for? You are a daughter of the King of Kings, an heir to Christ, "fearfully and wonderfully made" as the psalmist tells us. Our past failures do not make us unworthy in Jesus' eyes for He sees us with agape love. We are His chosen. Our lives were ransomed once and for all by the precious blood of Christ. He lifts up our chins and looks us in the eyes and says I have redeemed you...now go and love others and live a life of holiness, because I am holy and I give you the Holy Spirit who called you. (paraphrase 1 Peter 1:15-18). 1 Peter chapter1 ends with a promise that though we are frail and temporary, and the glory of man is fleeting, just as the grass that dries and withers, there is one thing that endures...the Word of the living and enduring God, our Jesus. And it is in Him alone that we place our faith and gain our identity.
Come and follow us as we read 1& 2 Peter over the next month. We're meeting in-person Thursday mornings 9:30-11 at The Abbey. An evening session is not available for this study so check here weekly for a recap of our discussion.