Peter began his letter to several churches in what is modern-day Turkey with these words:
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To the exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
Who have been chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood:
May grace and peace be yours in abundance (1 Peter 1.1-2).
Peter packed a large amount of crucial information into two short verses.
An Apostle of Jesus Christ.
Apostles served as agents of those who sent them. They acted on behalf of their boss as if they were the boss themselves.
An agent had a great responsibility. If they failed to properly represent their boss, their swift execution was a definite possibility.
Peter served the church as Jesus’ agent. Peter and the followers of Jesus do not serve according to their initiative. They serve as Jesus directs them.
Jesus made clear the “sent” nature of the first apostles and people like us.
He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
“And teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28.18-20).
A familiar poem attributed to Teresa of Avila captures the role Christians have as agents of our Lord and Savior.
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which He looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which He blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are His body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
Exiles of the Dispersion
Peter wrote to exiles who were resident aliens in five provinces of the ancient world.
Peter’s audience in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia were not citizens. They had limited rights and were viewed with suspicion.
The Roman Emperor Nero persecuted Jews and Christians. They had low status and experienced varying levels of persecution.
The more prosperous resident aliens were tempted to assimilate into the surrounding culture. They had to guard against diluting their witness in an attempt to be accepted.
“Trinity” as a word is not used in the Bible. However, the Trinity is frequently alluded to in the New Testament.
God the Father, the Spirit, and Jesus Christ are referenced in verse 2.
I can not explain the Trinity, but I can believe it is a fact. I join the millions who know and rely on God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
As resident aliens in what is modern Turkey, Christians experienced rejection and persecution.
Peter wrote to assure this rejected alien community that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit had chosen them. They were rejected by society, but chosen by God.
In order for God to choose us to serve on his “team,” Jesus had to pave the way through his death on the cross.
As part of the choosing process, the Spirit “sanctifies” us. Something that is sanctified is set apart for God’s purposes.
Throughout the centuries, the suffering and persecuted church can be assured that God has chosen them and is working with them no matter what.
Grace and Peace
When we greet someone, we may say “Hi, how are you?” or something similar.
Jews have traditionally greeted one another by saying, “Shalom,” which is translated as “peace.”
The early church added “grace” to the traditional greeting. We recognize that we have peace with God and one another because of God’s grace.
Paul powerfully describes the connection between God’s gift of grace and peace.
For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us,
Abolishing the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace,
And might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it.
So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father (Ephesians 2.14-18).
Let’s praise God for his grace that gives us peace.
Let’s also live as his “sent ones” (apostles) and carry the message of grace and peace to the world.
Rudy Ross and I begin a study today of 1 Peter on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.
Please email your prayer request to email@example.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.