About twenty-five years ago, we moved our four young children to Chicago where Dave was beginning a new position. Gracie, our oldest, was in first grade while the baby turned one the very day we moved. Wanting to do something special on the night of our arrival, Dave bought us tickets for Medieval Times, a combination of dinner and a medieval jousting tournament. The website describes the experience as “epic battles between steel and steed.”
The kids were absolutely enthralled! First of all, dinner was served with no silver ware! (I mean, "What knight eats with a fork?!") Second, dinner included soda, a knight's true special occasion drink. And best of all: “the battle!” The hype was real. The jousting among the knights and horses was epic.
On this memorable evening, six-year-old Gracie gave her heart away to the chivalrous blue knight, renowned as a champion of the defenseless. Gracie watched riveted as this adventurer with his dark, flowing hair and a beautiful horse contended against all sorts of evil. At one point, his encounters turned dire. The blue knight suffered a horrific blow. He was knocked off his horse, thrown to the ground and everything looked lost. Hopeless. But lo and behold, miraculously, the blue knight prevailed!
Gracie, mesmerized by his heroic chivalry, was thrilled.
Just then the lights dimmed, the music softened, and a single spotlight highlighted the victorious blue knight as he rode atop his great steed, searching, searching, searching for a maiden who would share in his great victory. As destiny would have it, the hero caught sight of a beautiful six-year-old damsel who had given him her heart two hours earlier. For Gracie, this had been love at first sight. Imagine her utter delight as the blue knight approached, singling her out as the recipient of his victor’s rose! In essence, his actions spoke louder than words, “Out of all the girls in this room, I choose you to love and honor and humbly serve.” Gracie slept with the rose that night. Oh! The joy of being chosen!
Chosen. Our hearts long for this. Our hearts crave this. Why else are love stories so popular?
Chosen: selected by someone in preference over another or others.
Last week, we observed that Peter opened his letter by addressing the believers as the “elect” exiles. Chosen foreigners. This week in I Peter 2, Peter expounds on this theme.
v.9: But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Chosen. Here Peter draws from Old Testament concepts. A number of cross references beautifully describe the Israelite's as God’s chosen people. Here's one:
“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. Deuteronomy 7:6
By linking the 1st century believers to the OT Israelite, Peter more fully explains the richness- the beauty- of their Living Hope. Peter’s word is rich here! The people of the Old Testament are connected to the people of the New Testament. How? Because throughout the generations, God has said to His people:
I choose You. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, you are My treasured possession. You are precious to Me.
Friends, even today, God says, “I choose you. You are Mine. You are precious to Me.”
So the question is this: Am I willing to respond? Do I believe in... or want to know this Person enough, to accept His Rose? That's our goal for Bible study: To know God. Then we can determine if we are willing to follow and do what He says.
Bible study is not rocket science. Simple is often best. So in teaching inductive study, I often suggest,
“If you ask only one question, ask, ‘What does this passage say about Who God is?’”
And then, if time allows, a good follow-up question is: “What does this say about our identity in relation to God?
Some might think, “Yeah, right! Is it true that we can do good Bible study with just two questions?” Well, let’s take a look at I Peter 2 asking:
What does this passage say about Jesus?
What does this passage say about the believer’s identity in Jesus?
I think we can glean a lot!
Question #1: What does this chapter say about Jesus? (Spoiler alert! If you'd like to study and answer this question on your own, take a break here!)
First, Jesus is good:
v. 3 ...if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
The first thing Peter says about Jesus is that He is good. A pretty simple observation. But let's see what it looks like to take this observation and this first paragraph through the inductive process. When we study Scripture, one observation often leads to another observation or question. So I asked, “What does it mean to be good?” (Marking it in the observation column of the workbook.)
To interpret, I put this word over in the Key Word column and defined it using a Bible dictionary or concordance. Good means: Choice, of superior grade. High quality. Peter is saying that Jesus is the crème de la crème of pure spiritual milk.
The cross reference is:
Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Main point of the first paragraph? Put away all your lousy behavior. Crave Jesus.
For application, I asked: “Have I tasted Him? Do I CRAVE Him?! What do I crave instead of Him?
With only five or ten minutes of study time, we could stop here. We have something to ponder for the day: “Jesus is a good!" Carrying this one truth into our day just might change our day and our hearts.
Beginning to crave that bag of chips? Jesus, You are good. Help me crave You.
Bored and distracted desiring to roam the internet? Jesus, You are good. Help me crave You.
Frustrated and longing to speak your mind? Jesus, You are good. Help me crave You.
The applications of God's truth are endless.
Friends, this is only the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to see about Jesus in this chapter!
Jesus is good. (v.3)
Rejected by men; Chosen and precious in the sight of God. (v.4)
He is the cornerstone. (v.6)
Christ suffered for you, leaving us an example that you might follow in His footsteps. (v.21)
He committed no sin; no deceit was found in his mouth. (v.22)
He spoke only truth. (v.22)
He was reviled, but did not revile in return. (v.23)
He suffered, but did not threaten. (v.23)
He entrusted Himself to God who judges justly. (v.23)
He bore our sins on the cross. (v.24)
Jesus healed us through His suffering: (v.24)
He is the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls. (v. 25)
Look at all we learn by asking and answering the one question: What does this passage say about Jesus? Each and every one of these characteristics about Jesus could be interpreted, discussed and further applied. Each provides a nugget of truth to ponder for the day. But collectively, WOW!!! These offer a mic drop moment... a fall on our knees kind of a moment.
No wonder the living creatures and elders and angels declare:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:12
How might we apply what we learn about WHO Jesus is? Praise, thanks and worship are always appropriate.
What about the second question? “In relation to Jesus, who does Peter say are we?”
I created a VERY long list, but here's my "short version:" Once again, if you prefer, here's a good place to pause. Re-read I Peter 2 and jot down your own observations.
We’re the ones called to taste His goodness.
Together we are being built into His spiritual house.
Our shame is gone.
He chose us.
We wear His royal robes.
We get to serve Him!
We can glorify Him by our good work... proclaiming His "excellenices" in words and deeds.
We live in His Light.
We are His beloved, recipients of His mercy.
By His wounds, we are healed.
Friends, look at who we are in relation to Christ!
Peter wants us to taste and see the Lord is GOOD! To follow our Shepherd and Overseer, to serve Him, to glorify Him until He returns.
And He’s returning.
One day, Christ will return on a Great White Steed.
Revelation 17:14 says that “with Him will be His called, chosen and faithful followers.”
Peter wants us to be among these called, chosen and faithful followers. He ask believers: Have you tasted? Do you crave Him, His goodness?
Friend, God chooses you. He says, "Out of all the people in the world, I choose you."
Our job? Is to respond. Peter says:
v.1- So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
Put away lousy attitudes and worthless words and bad behavior. And then? CRAVE HIM. Long for Him. Follow Him. He is our example. He became subject to every human institution. He honored everyone. He never spoke an evil word, reviled, or threatened. Rather He entrusted Himself to God.
Believer, which sounds more like you?
God chooses me. I am healed. I am holy. I am rested in Him.
God chooses me? Not the hot mess that I am. I'll work harder. I'll do better. Then He'll value me.
In verse one, Peter challenges us to:
“Put away ALL malice, ALL deceit and hypocrisy and envy and ALL slander.”
Is there a chance that we hold malice or deceit or slander towards ourselves? Sometimes we run from God. But other times we just don't feel worthy. But our feelings can dupe us.
Jeremiah 17:9 says it this way:
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
Oh, by all means, be humble. Have an accurate assessment of your own sin nature. (Peter will speak to this later on.) But don’t belittle or slander yourself. Don't belittle or slander God’s good work. He suffered much for you. Trust Him. Trust His promises. When God speaks it is so. That’s His Name, Yahweh: Let it be and it is so.
We study to know Him and to know the promises He speaks over us. And friends, He says that we are a chosen race. Together we are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession:
“Out of all the people in the world, I choose you.”
Friend, you are worthy. He deems you worthy. He chooses you. Are you ready to respond? A simple answer will do: "Yes. With all my heart, Lord, I will love You. I will follow. I will serve You."
Then believe. Trust. Repeat His Words about you:
I am chosen. I am royal. I am holy. I am God’s. I am treasured. I am worthy. Out of all the people in the world, He chose me.
I am chosen. Feels weird. But feelings dupe us. His promises are true. Repeat God's promises daily. Repeat them out loud. Repeat them as many times as necessary to believe. Allow His truth to sink deep.
Lord, let us worship You. You choose. We respond. You never force. Oh, Lord! May we crave You. Here's my heart, Lord. May your dear ones live to follow, love, and serve You.
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