11/27/11 1 Peter 3:18-22
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
He’s coming to destroy and to rescue.
1 Peter 3:18-22
Peter and other apostles instructed believers not to rebel when people in authority treat us unfairly. Naturally, this subject leads to talking about how Jesus suffered for the sins others had committed.
How did Jesus suffer for doing good (3:17-18)?
The Bible doesn’t mention Jesus’ visit to hell very often. It does tell us that it happened. This 1 Peter section is the main place where we go to learn the details. It may seem confusing, but part of the problem is the NIV and KJV translation at the end of verse 18. The Greek manuscripts have no capital letters. It’s “spirit” rather than “Spirit.” Part of Jesus’ life was “in the flesh.” After that, He was “in the spirit.” “In the body” is before He died. “In the spirit” tells about Jesus’ new life after His body came back to life. It’s a lot like what the Holy Spirit had Paul describe in 1 Corinthians 15:44.
Which day did Jesus go to “proclaim His victory to the spirits in prison” (3:18-19)?
While Jesus was on the cross, He fully served the sentence for humanity’s sins. Jesus told us He had paid it in full. There was no more damnation suffering for Him to face. He told us that when His body would give out, His soul would be in heaven, along with the criminal who died next to Him. When the angel rolled the stone away from the front of the grave where Jesus’ body had been placed, people investigated the inside of the tomb. They found no body inside. Where had Jesus, body and soul, gone? The Holy Spirit had Peter, one of the original investigators, tell us.
Where and who are “spirits in prison” (3:19; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6)?
The NIV also leads us to misunderstand what Jesus did in hell. It says “He preached.” Preaching is what you do for people who still have a chance to believe. In hell there is no chance for a change of heart. There is no other residence for people after death besides heaven. Some people teach that Jesus went to evangelize people from the Old Testament who had died trusting the Savior promise. This variant teaching wants us to believe that Jesus’ visit there was to clue them in to the success of His life so they’d believe the whole story. Then He’d lead them to heaven. They combine 1 Peter with Ephesians 4:8 and 1 Peter 4:6. Big mistake. Remember Hebrew 9:27. We should notice that 3:22 refers to fallen angels.
4. Why did Jesus have to broadcast His news in this venue (3:19; Colossians 2:15)?
The reason this section mentions the Flood victims in hell is that they had to comprise the majority of hell’s human population and the most monumental immigration to this house of torment. Jesus notified hell’s prison population that what Noah had said before the flood had all come true. Peter teaches that Jesus is our ark. We are safe inside of Him no matter how dangerous it is outside. God used the environment to dismiss earth’s population from this life. The raging storm, the earth-shaking destruction must have been terrifying. When God was done with the majority, the people He rescued got to enjoy a new life in a different world.
5. Compare the global flood waters with baptism water. What do they have in common (3:20-21)?
Infant baptism, as we see it, is the Gospel’s and Spirit’s first contact with an individual. It gives first exposure to the news about Jesus and creates dependence on Jesus. Adult baptism confirms the news the person already believes.
6. What does it mean that baptism is a “pledge of a good conscience toward God” (3:21)?
Peter makes a pretty unusual connection in 3:21. He connects our baptism to Jesus’ return to life. What’s the connection (see Romans 6:3-4)?
Today’s section sounds like a variation of the Apostles’ Creed. He itemizes Jesus’ death on the cross, His descent into hell, His return to life, His return to heaven, His authority as God’s right hand man over even evil angels (3:22).
How can baptism save us (3:21)? Isn’t that what Jesus is all about?
God always keeps His promises. He provided people an escape from judgment as they heard Noah’s message. He’s also provides us an escape from the final judgment. It was in the person of Jesus. Baptism personalizes what Jesus did. Jesus came to rescue. He will come to destroy.
1. Picture where Jesus is right now (3:22). How is this inspirational when you’re going through hard times?
Jesus will come on a mission to seek and destroy. Why doesn’t that diminish our confidence about our eventual interview with Him?
How does this section connect to Mark 13:32-37? What’s the connection to Genesis 6:1-3, 5-14, 17-22?