DAILY DEVOTION - MAY 10
Listen to excerpts from today's daily devotion on this video.
This Daily Devotion is from A Living Hope, by Sarah Viggiano Wright, published by Bible Study Media, and made available to us through Presbyterian Women.
“He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”
1 Peter 1:20–21
Have you ever had a friend do something so kind or so generous that it absolutely blew you away? Days after I had my first child, I was suffering from injury and illness, our apartment was a wreck, and I hadn’t slept since the baby was born. A friend of mine came over with her three daughters in tow to clean my house, fold my laundry, hold my baby, and cook a meal while I slept. When I awoke and saw all that had transpired, I sobbed tears of gratitude...and relief!
Perhaps someone surprised you with tickets to a big show you wanted to see, watched your children for the weekend so you could have some down time, or showed up from out of town to hold your hand while you were grieving. What makes these acts of love so special? It’s that our friends didn’t have to do them; they chose to because of their love for us. Someone went out of their way to care for us, to make us feel valued, and to show us how important we are to them.
Something similar is happening in today’s section of chapter 1. After we’ve been reminded of what is true and what to do, Peter circles back with a powerful declaration of Jesus’ lavish love: Jesus knew he was going to come and ransom you. Jesus is the friend who went out of his way to show you he loves you. And, it was the Father’s and his plan all along.
Here again we see the foreordaining knowledge (prognōsin) of the Father in his plan of salvation (1 Peter 1:2). But in this particular passage, we see Jesus’ participation in our lives as part of the Father’s plan. The plan has been active longer than we’ve been alive and longer than all humans have existed. This carefully planned, intentional, and scripted rescue mission was determined “before the foundation of the world.” Peter’s proclamation means that in the beginning, before the triune God put the sun, moon, and stars in their places, he crafted this grand, gracious, and comprehensive plan of salvation, not only redeeming us but the entire cosmos.
Why would Peter mention this here, and why would he consider it a comfort? For one, it means God was not surprised that humans rebelled. He was not surprised that we would need rescuing. Similarly, God wasn’t taken off-guard by the current sufferings of Peter’s audience. Our sin, need, and suffering are all aspects of what Jesus was ordained to redeem. There was also nothing covert about Jesus’ mission. Rather it was a cosmic broadcast of love—a love whose depth and breadth would be progressively revealed through time. In a variety of ways and times, God would say, “I love you.” Every covenant of faithfulness God made with humanity, every promise of restoration, every vow of nearness, and every prophecy of deliverance was made knowing it included you.
The message of love was fully revealed, or “made manifest,” in the person of Jesus. Jesus, the full revelation of God, unveils the heart of God toward us. Our Immanuel, God with us, displays the grand intention of God’s redemption mission—to be reunited with us.
In his incarnation, Jesus also shows us how to be human. He shows us how to live a good and perfect life the way humans were intended to do. He shows us how we are to revere God’s Word, treat those around us, and—above all else—be wholeheartedly devoted to God. In his mercy, God wanted to show us all of himself. Sending Jesus was the clearest way to reveal to us who he is. The grandest and very best expression of “I love you” came down from heaven. Jesus, ordained by the Father to rescue us before the foundation of the world, has appeared in these last times “for your sake.”
Astoundingly, Jesus always knew what he was going to do for the sake of his Church—for you. Nothing about the human limitations he took on, the way he was treated on earth, or the suffering he endured stopped him from carrying out his plan. Not even the cursed death on the cross deterred him from showing his love. He chose you and he wanted you to know it! Why? “So that your faith and hope would be in God” (v. 21). So that you would know, rest, and remain in his ultimate goodness.
Jesus gives us the ability to rest in his goodness because our ransom is paid and our debt is settled. Jesus, the perfect lamb, was the payment and exchange for our freedom from sin. He bought us with his blood, a most precious commodity that will never lose its value. Our debt is completely satisfied.
But this ransom of Jesus is a somber reality until you get to the glory and joy of his being “raised from the dead.” The cross is Jesus’ beautiful, loving, sacrificial gesture for our sakes, but his resurrection from the dead gives us the kind of rest and reassurance we can only receive from knowing this epic saga ends in victory.
The resurrection offers us both peace and promise. Our debt is paid, Jesus was restored to life and ascended into heaven. Because we are tied to him in his resurrection, ours is the promise that we too will be raised again with him one day—the glorious completion of God’s loving plan from “Before the Beginning.”