Peter grew up in Bethsaida and then moved to Capernaum where he lived when Jesus called him away from fishing (Matthew 4) to be a talmid (disciple). Peter was the oldest of the disicples, but was still probably in his mid-20's when he walked with Jesus. Peter was part of the inner-circle of Jesus with James and John. He saw some amazing events that shaped his life:
1. Mark 5 - witnessed Jesus raise a dead girl
2. Matthew 17 - went up and witnessed the Transfiguration - he saw Moses and Elijah and heard the voice of God affirm Jesus
3. Garden of Gethsemane - watched Jesus sweat blood
Peter also denied Jesus three times during His arrest and was later re-instated with Jesus after feeling brokenness and shame. Jesus restored him.
He writes this letter in 64 AD with perspective. History writes that he was crucified upside down by Nero just a couple of years after this letter was written. It is a letter written to the towns of modern-day Turkey who have scattered. It is a circular letter that travels from city to city. This letter speaks to suffering, submission, and pain with a purpose.
He begins the letter by calling the audience "exiles". An exile is someone who is temporarily living somewhere longing to be in their forever home. He is strengthening them to be set apart. Persecution has always prospered the church. He then speaks of the Trinity in verse 2 by speaking of the role of the Father, Son, and Spirit.
Verses 3-12 would have been one long sentence if written in Greek. It speaks of the great salvation we have. The Holy Spirit of God lives in you and your focus is forever in eternity. There is a living hope IN someone through the resurrection! We are the Imago Christi - image bearers of Christ. Verses 7-9 remind us that sometimes life is painful and hurts, and we don't know why; but we always know "who". Jesus will always be in the middle of it.
Verse 10 keeps the end in mind. It even goes on to say in verse 13 that the angels are "longing to look" at our salvation! Angels don't taste what you've tasted in salvation. They long to understand what "born again" looks like. Your salvation story is a miracle! The angels stoop to look at your story!
In light of ALL of that, verse 13 begins with "Therefore". Pastor Alex pointed out 4 imperatives for us to see how to live like an exile.
1. Live Hopefully (v13)- Put your hope in someone, not something. Prepare your minds and be sober-minded - don't be under the control of something else. Keep the long-range view of things.
2. Live Holy (v14-16) - Don't be conformed. Do holy in your conduct. It is a strong command. God has been called "the Holy Other" because He is beyond understanding. So, to be exiles is to "be other", look different, and be "odd". "You shall be holy as I am holy" is an identity statement!
3. Live with Fear (v17) - Let God's bigness WOW you! Don't be "too familiar" with a Holy God. Be reminded that in His "otherness", He has invited you in. Have a reverent fear of God Almighty.
4. Live Love (v22) - Let your Phileo love (brotherly love) move towards Agape love (supernatural love of one another) in the body of Christ. Love each other in the body. When we lay down our rights to love and serve one another, people around us pay attention. Jesus gave up so many "rights" for our sake. He sacrificially loved us.
Peter finishes this first chapter with an emphasis on the fact that all other mindsets will fade away, but the Word of the LORD stands forever.
To Discuss Today:
1. As we are called to "Live Hopefully", where have you taken your mind off the long-range view of things and let the every day battles control you?
2. Would your neighbors/co-workers/non-Christian friends say that you look different or "odd" due to your conduct? do you truly have the mindset of living like an exile?
3. Spend some time reflecting on the bigness of God. Tell Him of His excellent greatness and examine your life and habits to see if you are "too familiar" with Him.
4. The phrase, "You have been saved, are being saved, and will be saved" speaks to the justification, sanctification, and glorification of believers. How are you currently being sanctified?