April 19, 2020

Peter's Letter-Who Are You?

Scripture Reading: I Peter 1:1-9

In this Easter season we remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The One who died on the cross, was buried in a tomb, was also raised to life on the third day. The One who was dead is now alive and this makes all the difference for our lives in the world right here, right now.

The Christian faith is rests on the truth of Jesus Christ: crucified, risen, and Lord. What this means for us is that our salvation is complete. We rest in the finished work of Christ who by grace has redeemed us and made us his very own. The life we live in this world is not about enduring the meaningless passage of time and unrelated events. All things are moving from the cross and empty tomb, towards the final revelation of the Kingdom of God when Christ returns. In this truth we live and find our identity and purpose. We know ourselves in Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord.

Remember what the Heidelberg Catechism says about the benefits of Christ’s resurrection:

Lord’s Day 17, Q & A 45
Q. How does Christ’s resurrection
benefit us?
A. First, by his resurrection Jesus has overcome death, so that he might make us share in the righteousness he obtained for us by his death.
Second, by his power we too are already raised to a new life.
Third, Christ’s resurrection is a guarantee of our glorious resurrection.

Today we begin a study of I Peter. He was the disciple who used to be a fisherman. He was an excitable person. He was quick to speak and was not always very wise. Peter was the disciple who denied Jesus three times on the night he was arrested. However, Peter was loved by Jesus and he became an important leader in the Christian Church.

We know Peter is the person who wrote this letter because he identifies himself at the very beginning. As our correspondence includes an identification either through a name, number or email address, so the letters of the New Testament begin with the writer’s identification. He writes, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.”

Question:

In this letter Peter identifies himself as an “Apostle”. What qualified someone to be an apostle?

Peter’s says his congregation is “scattered”. What does he mean by that?

As Peter writes this letter he is full of joy as he reminds his people of the good news of Easter. He says, “Praise be to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

This is no frivolous letter. This is not some random tweet to the world. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ. As followers of this Lord our lives must reflect this good news in the lives we live. Over the next few weeks we will learn more about that.

And now one final question!

At the end of the greeting in verse 2, the apostle says, “Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” What are “grace” and “peace”? Are they just “churchy” words or something more?