DAILY DEVOTION - MAY 5
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.
“Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 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. Even angels long to look into these things.”
1 Peter 1:10–12
If you’ve seen the movie Braveheart, you’ll remember William Wallace’s (Mel Gibson) powerful rallying cry to battle, “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our FREEDOM!” Peter wants to give the suffering Christians to whom he’s writing their own rallying cry: “Suffering now, Glory later!”
Peter encourages these persecuted believers to rally themselves, realizing they are participating in what the prophets and even the angels of heaven were eager to see unfold. They, and now we, are witnessing the fulfillment of God’s salvation!
The prophets of the Old Testament “searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out” about this foretold salvation (vv.10–11, NIV). They knew that the salvation offered by the Messiah would be unlike anything they’d ever experienced and was worth searching intently for, knowing that there were glories to come. The prophets knew the Spirit of the Lord was with them, predicting that the Messiah would first experience suffering, followed by glory.
Let’s look at just some of the prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. The Messiah would:
Come from King David’s line (2 Samuel 7:12–13).
Be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14).
Grow up without majesty (Isaiah 53:2).
Live a perfect life (1 Samuel 2:35).
Free those in captivity (Isaiah 61:1).
Bring in the Gentiles (Isaiah 11:10).
Establish justice on earth (Isaiah 42:1–4).
Teach in parables, but his people would not hear (Isaiah 6:9–10).
Be despised and rejected (Isaiah 53:1, 3).
Be sold for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12–13).
Be mocked (Psalm 22:7– 8).
Have his hands and feet pierced, his garment divided by casting lots, and be crucified (Psalm 22:18, 14–16).
Be abandoned in his death (Psalm 22:1).
Rise from the dead (Hosea 6:1–2).
Put an end to sin (Daniel 9:24).
Establish his throne (Daniel 7:13–14).
But, as much as God revealed in the Old Testament, the fullness of salvation was still far too grand to fully comprehend.
In 1 Peter 1:1–12, we experience the past, present, and future aspects of salvation. We have been justified, which is a single, one-time, past event where Christ puts his righteousness on us and claims us as his own. Presently, we are being sanctified, continuously saved from our old selves and from sin, prepared for the purposes of God’s mission. But there is still a future saving that we, the prophets, the angels, and all of Creation can look forward to—a salvation with full, complete, and final implications.
It is understood that our suffering will end when we get to heaven. In Christian circles, phrases like “I’m longing for heaven” are often heard when earthly suffering makes the promise of rest and peace that much sweeter. And those in Christ are indeed waiting for heaven to bring us peace. But, though it is true that our souls will be at rest and our suffering will be over, our full reward is not found in death.
There is a brighter and bigger reward coming, not just for us as Christians, but for the whole of Creation! There is a prophesied incentive for endurance that is a part of our “living hope.” This prophecy was made and will be kept by our promise-keeping God. It pertains to the future aspects of our salvation. What is prophesied to come? Both the Old and New Testaments describe what is alluded to in 1 Peter 1:7: glory at the revelation (coming, return [apokalypseiin the Greek]) of Jesus Christ.
These elect exiles to whom Peter writes have never seen Jesus in the flesh, yet they love him, and they have trusted him with their lives. To that end, Peter says “rejoice” because you will receive the outcome (telos) of your faith—the complete and total salvation of your full personhood: mind, body, and spirit restored.
The Second Coming of Christ brings the full and final culmination of God’s salvation plan. It will be more cause for rejoicing than we can humanly imagine! Isaiah 25 and Revelation 21 foretell of celebratory feasting at a glorious wedding. Isaiah 25:6 describes this feast of rich food and fine wine as a grand and glorious fête fit for a king—the celebration of all celebrations—for “all peoples” of “all nations” (v. 7). In Revelation, the Apostle John foresees the heavenly fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.
Think of how we revere weddings in American culture—the lavish decorations and delicacies, the festive celebrations and dancing. To think that weddings, in all their splendor, are mere foretastes of the glory to come!
Isaiah 25:8 goes on to describe this future time when God will take away all sadness: “He will swallow death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth...” There will be no more reasons to grieve as God himself will take away all of our sin, shame, sorrow, struggle, and suffering forevermore. There will be only cheers and no more tears!
God has spoken, and he has fulfilled his promise of redemption in Jesus Christ (the “already”) and will fulfill his promise of our glorification (the “not-yet”). The heavens and the earth anticipate the day Christ will return and our salvation will come to completion.
Death, and even heaven, is not our final destination—glory is! Heaven is a temporary respite in the journey of our salvation, but there is more. We have a glorious future (v. 7) in a new heaven and a new earth, a salvation worthy of our anticipation and worthy of our temporary suffering.