5/08/11 1 Peter 1:17-21
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
It’s THE MOST VALUABLE FORM OF CURRENCY.
1 Peter 1:17-21
Why do we often get off track and make less than Christian decisions? Because we don’t think. Peter uses this paragraph to get our thinking straight. He was so intent on making his point he poured it all out in Greek in one long sentence. Lest we think of Peter writing only to Jewish converts, he speaks about “the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers” (1:18). Later he gives a catalog of uniquely non-Jewish vices (4:3–4). These references and others make it hard to limit Peter’s readers to Jewish Christians. Greek culture taught people that when they died their souls crossed a grim underwater river to Hades, a bleak, cheerless world. Here the dead drifted aimlessly with troubled looks on their empty faces for eternity. A few of the gods’ favorites, like great poets and heroes made it to the paradise of
Elysium. The ones the gods wanted to punish went to Tartarus, a place full of pain and sadness. Growing up Jewish was no less empty. Old Testament experts had stripped all Gospel from the Bible. They made it a book of rules. Either Jews were outrageously proud of themselves for their selective accomplishments, or they lived a hopeless existence, knowing their best efforts could never make up for their wrongs.
What deterrent does 1:17 give to back us away from wrongdoing?
In the Roman Empire foreigners paid heavy taxes. The government believed they would only obey their nation’s laws. We can’t expect society to be concerned about our “rights” as Christians. We have our own king. We are under His protection, and so we obey His laws.
Is 1:17 talking about servile fear or filial fear?
Explain “live as strangers here” (1:17) – is this denying us relationships with non-Christians?
This is the highest motive for holy living beginning in verse 18. All of us regularly need to remember why we can feel so close to God. This is a reason Jesus gave us the Lord’s Supper. It’s a way His people can schedule to remember how He died in their place. Silver and gold are a perishable currency. They can lose their value due to devaluation. Valuable minerals are temporary wealth, not eternal resources. They will go up in smoke with the rest of the universe God created when Jesus returns. Peter watched Jesus suffer (5:1). He mentioned what Jesus went through often in this letter (2:21ff; 3:18; 4:1, 13; 5:1). When he calls Jesus “a Lamb,” Peter was taking his readers back to an Old Testament teaching that was important to the first believers. It ought to be important to us today. It’s the substitution principle: an innocent victim gives his life to replace the guilty. You could see this substitution concept in Genesis 22, where a ram took Isaac’s place. Isaiah 53 lays it out the clearest. The prophet John the Baptizer called Jesus “the Lamb” (John 1:29). People will talk about what He did into eternity, “Worthy is the Lamb! (Revelation 5:11-14). Redemption by the blood of a lamb sends us back to the annual Passover celebration. Jewish people remembered how thousands of lamb deaths freed the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt.
Was it the amount of blood Jesus bled or His blood type – what makes Jesus’ blood so valuable (1:19)?
Jesus’ victim status was an appointment, not an accident. God has been planning a rescue plan from before the dawn of time. God planned Jesus’ death ages before we ever were born. He could look into the future to see how unworthy we would be. He still included us in His strategy. It should overwhelm us with gratitude, and there is no better outlet for that gratitude than to devote ourselves to Him.
Who “chose” Jesus, and what was His assignment (1:20)?
Why does “these last times” mean (1:20)?
What’s the difference between your belief in God and people of other religions (1:21)?
What does “hope” (1:21) have to do with anything?
When you heat up water, you can watch bubbles form and pop to the surface. Jesus adds this kind of overheated excitement to our lives. We reject society’s selective, selfish standards. We are loyal to Emperor Jesus. Why wouldn’t we be loyal to someone who sacrificed everything for us?
1. What are some examples of “empty ways of life” (1:18)?
2. Why does Jesus ongoing existence excite us? How does it excite us?
3. How does this section connect to Luke 24:13-35? What’s the connection to Acts 24:10-21?