Jesus was everything to Peter. Peter longed to follow Jesus and for three years he did. He walked with Jesus saw his miracles, heard his preaching, and was there when Jesus rose from the grave. Peter wasn’t always a cooperative follower. In his early years he was brash and impulsive. His lip got him into messes, but Jesus was tender and tough with Peter. He forgave Peter, appointed him to service, empowered him, and helped him endure a trial-ridden life. No wonder Peter endured so much for Jesus.
Peter made it his mission to love Jesus and shepherd the flock. You get a glimpse of Peter’s heart when reading his letters. Peter was a pen pal pastor and counselor to many Christians who faced trials for following Jesus throughout modern-day Turkey (v.1). As Peter begins his letter do not skip over the salutation. Packed within are three hopeful promises for Christians under trials.
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you.” – 1 Peter 1:1-2
First, even under trials God has chosen you, saved you, forgiven you, adopted you, loves you, and you are his from before time (v.2a). What precious gifts to remember in a time of persecution or hardship. God is with you and for you. He won’t fail to be good to you.
Second, the Holy Spirit is sanctifying you under trials (v.2b). No body likes trials. In fact, we try hard to avoid them. Yet trials are unavoidable. They follow us. Not that we are to embrace trials, but we must see how God uses them to draw us to him. Trials are part of God’s sovereign plan. God doesn’t just want to save us; he wants to change us. Trials tend change us to make us more like Jesus. This is God’s holy work of sanctification.
Third, remaining obedient to Jesus is vital when under trials. Jesus is acquainted with our trials. He has been there. He knows the full weight of being under trials. He was under trials to the death, but it was by his blood and sacrifice that our sins are forgiven. Jesus blood was the signature of his covenant between God and man. As Jesus remained obedient to God under trials the result was global blessing, so must we remain obedient to Jesus under trials for the result will be great blessings.
Peter writes to early Christians, but he also writes to you so that you would see trials under the lens of God’s grace. Grace is God acting and working on your behalf for your good. Peters points to the possibility of grace and peace in the midst of trials. Don’t panic. God is with you, for you and at work within you under trials.
Questions for Reflection:
- Who was Peter? What do you know about Peter’s life?
- What do you know about the people to whom Peter is writing? How are we like them?
- How does Peter start his letter? Why is this important?
- How did Peter know Jesus?
- What is election? How does election show God’s love? How is election like adoption?
Why are the “elect” called “exiles”? (aka: stranger or alien) What is the purpose of our election?
- How are we citizens of a different kingdom? Where have you become to “at home” in this world?
- How do you see the Trinity in verse 2? How do you see the Trinity working together in this verse? What do you learn about God from these verses?
- What is the significance of “sprinkled with his blood”? (see Exodus 24:1-8)