“This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace.1 Peter 1:1-2
It had been some time since Peter was fishing on the Sea of Galilee and Jesus came and found him. It had been a while since those three years of ministry, since Jesus died, rose, and ascended into heaven, since Peter and the first disciples were in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost and received the Holy Spirit. It had been at least thirty years as estimated by scholars.
Thirty years is a lifetime to some. I think about what I was doing thirty years ago and I was a different person, in a different location with different friends and different values. I wonder how much Peter had changed in thirty years since his first encounter with Christ?
This is not the young-adult Peter but the middle-aged preacher Peter who had been persecuted for his faith. He was doing what Christ had called him so long ago to do. He was a messenger of the Gospel, an Apostle of the Lord, teaching and preaching Jesus to the early churches. This letter, written to the Christians dispersed throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, were first century followers of the way of Jesus. They were living as foreigners in other lands because of the persecution of the Christians and Jews in Israel and by Romans everywhere.
Early in this letter Peter reminds them twice that they are chosen people, selected by God to be set apart, made holy. Just as Peter was set a part so many years ago. And because of this choosing, the people obeyed the Lord and were “cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.” They had already received his grace and peace but now Peter was asking that God give them more blessings.
How many comparative studies have been made on Peter the young adult and Peter the old preacher/theologian/leader of the church? He who was once young and impulsive has grown into maturity in Christ. He who was once strong of body had now become strong of spirit. He who was once encouraged by Christ was now encouraging thousands of followers. He who had walked with the Lord was now helping others walk with Christ.
As we begin a study on 1 Peter, we do so in the context of a man who knew, loved and obeyed the Lord. What a great example we have in Peter as we learn how to walk faithfully with the Lord. His example and his letter to these early churches are a word for us today.
Will you listen? Will you hear? Will you learn from one who walked with the Lord?
“O Lord God, you are good. Even when my love fails your love remains steadfast. Thank you Lord for loving me, saving me, cleansing me by your Word. Come now, Holy Spirit, fall upon your people. Send your blessings upon us that we might bring heaven to earth. Thank you for the example of Peter, your servant, who was obedient to you in all things. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen