Devotional for Thursday, April 23
1 Peter 1:8-12 (NLT)
You love [Jesus Christ] even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward.
They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.
Let me begin by getting you, the Christian reader, in the right frame of mind. Peter’s first letter is not something to be read in the abstract. You are the “you” in this letter.
When written, 1 Peter was intended for a broad audience, a general guide for believers, many of whom were suffering. In the opening of the letter, Peter did make clear it was to be delivered to people living as “foreigners” in places strange to them. But for all practical purposes, we are among them. Followers of Christ know this world can never truly be home.
As I read the verses above, I’m reminded that Peter was present when Jesus said, “Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” By the time he wrote this letter, Peter had seen Christ’s following grow from a tiny band of fearful eyewitnesses hiding in a locked room to a sprawling, multicultural movement. The vast majority of church people believed because someone had preached God’s word to them.
In other words, Peter got to see the power of the Holy Spirit at work. And at some point, this brash fisherman-turned-evangelist realized the Holy Spirit always had been at work, even before God took on flesh and came among humanity to save us from sin.
The prophets of old had been empowered by the Spirit to declare that salvation was coming, even if the exact process was something of a mystery to them. We’re reminded that the crucifixion and resurrection were parts of a plan embedded in creation from the beginning. The aspect of God through which all things were made is the same aspect of God that took on flesh.
Peter was saying you and I have roles in a great story. We benefit eternally from the work of the greatest hero of all time, Jesus Christ. We are more than just the rescued, though. We are called to join in the rescuing, telling the story and acting as the visible presence of the Holy Spirit in this world.
And as the letter promises, we will find our way home.
Lord, keep us mindful of who we are and where we are, so we may not lose sight of the task at hand and the greater days to come. Amen.