Getting the Big Picture
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (1Peter 5:10-11)
PETER DOES NOT TRAFFIC IN FICTION and light stuff. He goes for the big picture. Peter knows that what he’s doing may cost him his life, and knows that there is a fiery trial coming upon the Christians who are scattered in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, where his letter is going. He is telling them that whatever comes their way, to stand fast. He uses big words like: “eternal glory” and “God of all grace.” These are massive words! Words do not get any bigger than these words.
HE WAS WRITING TO PEOPLE WHO WERE ALMOST CERTAIN TO BE IMPRISONED, crucified, or, if they made it as far as Rome─ fed to the lions. It’s difficult for us today to imagine their situation and the mindset of Peter who is writing the best that can be written to these people. Why would the God of love and mercy allow His children to go through these fiery trials? The first reason is to perfect the Christians. And then, to have a powerful impact on the Roman Empire. Word eventually spread throughout the Empire that Christians “die well.” I doubt if our approach to preaching today would have made the slightest dent in the Roman Empire.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THIS JEWISH PREACHER WHO WAS CRUCIFIED and reported to have risen from the dead. That’s why these Christians were willing to die. This was a strange story for people outside of Jerusalem to believe. Inside of Jerusalem, the established religious and civic leaders were determined that their hierarchy was not going to be threatened by “idle tales” about one dead Jew. So, they struggled with it. But their struggle, at first, was like spitting into the wind.
A MILLION PEOPLE ON PASSOVER HAD SEEN THREE HOURS OF DARKNESS in the middle of the day. An earth quake broke rocks and opened graves. The beautiful 60’ veil that covered the Most Holy Place had been ripped from top to bottom in the presence of priests who were in the room with the veil.
And then on the third day many recently buried Jews came out of their graves and appeared unto many in that huge throng of people inside of Jerusalem for the Passover. When they went home, they carried these stories with them and so all of Judea was sown with the story of the one who was crucified and raised from the dead.
AND NOW, THE FURY OF REACTION TO THE RESURRECTION was beginning to take hold. Peter was the best one and in the best position of anyone to say the best things that could be said in strengthening these people who were going to go through vicious persecution.
Had not Jesus warned them: Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:34-38)
Peter, what can you possibly tell these people who are in the path of persecution and destruction? The best summary I could find is by the people at Dallas Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, edited by Walvoord and Zuck.
BUT THE GOD OF ALL GRACE - The God who imparts all needful grace. It was proper in their anticipated trials to direct them to God, and to breathe forth in their behalf an earnest and affectionate prayer that they might be supported. A prayer of this kind by an apostle would also be to them a sort of pledge or assurance that the needed grace would be granted them.
WHO HATH CALLED US UNTO HIS ETERNAL GLORY - And who means, therefore, that we shall be saved. As he has called us to his glory, we need not apprehend that he will leave or forsake us….
AFTER THAT YE HAVE SUFFERED A WHILE - After you have suffered as long as he shall appoint. The Greek is, “having suffered a little,” and may refer either to time or degree. In both respects the declaration concerning afflictions is true. They are short, compared with eternity; they are light, compared with the exceeding and eternal weight of glory. See the notes at 2Co_4:16-18.
MAKE YOU PERFECT - By means of your trials. The tendency of affliction is to make us perfect.
STABLISH - The Greek word means “to set fast; to fix firmly; to render immovable,” Luk_16:26; Luk_9:51; Luk_22:32; Rom_1:11; Rom_16:25; 1Th_3:2, 1Th_3:13, et al.
STRENGTHEN - Give you strength to bear all this.
SETTLE YOU - Literally, found you, or establish you on a firm foundation - θεμελιώσες themeliōses. The allusion is to a house which is so firmly fixed on a foundation that it will not be moved by winds or floods….(Bible Knowledge Commentary)
This is the message that sustained early Jewish Christians in bearing persecution and death and became such an overwhelming powerful witness during the Roman Empire.
Epilog: The Jewish leaders would continue their program of denial and persecution for forty years, until Rome would come with an army in A.D. 70 and destroy the Temple and the city of Jerusalem and leave them as a pile of rocks. That would effectively dismantle the Jewish priesthood and their ancient system of sacrifices instituted by Moses.
The times of the Gentiles would set in and continue until God regathered the Jews back into Jerusalem. In 1948, the Jews declared themselves to be a nation again and U.S. President, Harry Truman, against the wishes of his own State Department, recognized Israel as a nation. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
APRIL 30, 2018 – MONDAY
A.M. 2Samuel 23-24 P.M. Luke 22:31-53
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
APRIL 28, 2018 – SATURDAY
A.M. 2 Samuel 19-20 P.M. Luke 21:20:38
APRIL 29, 2018 - SUNDAY
A.M. 2 Samuel 21-22 P.M. Luke 22:1-30
A lady told me they go to Morning Minute and let the man read to them while they eat breakfast.
Good Memory Verse:
Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: (Isaiah 46:9-10)
Song for Today:
The Stranger by the Sea (1:39) – (Lester Roloff -a dear personal friend)
Note: You may need to turn off the song when finished to avoid something you do not want to hear, afterwards.