November 4 - Prophets and Preachers

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

November 4 - Prophets and Preachers - 1 Peter 1:8-12

Read this passage carefully today. Peter is expressing some pretty awesome things here.

1 Peter 1:8 "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy..."

Remember that Peter was in the room when Jesus spoke to Thomas in John 20:29. While Peter doesn't quote Jesus in his letter, there are at least 25 instances in which he alludes to Jesus' words. Much like we absorb lines from movies and television shows, those words had become such a part of his life that they were a part of his conversations and his letters.

The words of Jesus in Matthew 5:12 are the prequel to Peter's teaching here on the relationship between suffering and joy. I suspect that this is a passage that makes no sense to many of us. How can suffering produce joy? But, when we come to accept, as Peter will ask us to over and over, that our lives on earth are only temporary and that our greatest joy will come in the last days, we can begin to understand this concept a little better.

Peter goes on in 1 Peter 1:9 to exclaim the salvation is not something that happens at the beginning of our relationship with the risen Christ, but it is the goal of our faith.

1 Peter 1:10-12a is rather profound. "Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven."

The prophets of old were heroes of the faith during the days of Peter and his readers. Notice his description of their activities. The prophets were proclaiming the coming of the Messiah and searched the scriptures deeply to find the revelation so that they could be prepared. however, the prophets knew that they were delivering words that would be fulfilled far into the future, long after they were dust. Their goal was to make known the things of the Messiah.

The preachers of Peter's time brought the gospel, the good news of the fulfillment of those prophecies. The prophets were looking forward to the Age of the Church, the preachers were delivering the Good News, just as those who share it today are doing.

Prophets and preachers - bringing the Good News of fulfillment of ageless prophecy to light.

We are given the chance to understand the depths of the prophecies regarding the first coming of the Messiah and the second coming. Even angels long to look into these things (1 Peter 1:12b).

(many notes taken from Peter H. David's commentary "The First Epistle of Peter")