Several years ago, Debbie and I had the opportunity to take part in an educational tour of Turkey. The picture is that of a Roman road outside of Tarsus. It is well over 2,000 years old and most likely is a road travelled by Paul and his companions on their missionary journeys. In places along this road the worn track of wagon wheels can still be seen. It is a very ancient road traversing a very ancient country!
In I Peter followers of Jesus are described as exiles or sojourners. We are temporary residents on a road home, and the road is an ancient one. Many have travelled this road before us.
In our meditation in preparation for Sunday’s worship service we will return to the first two verses of I Peter. This the theologically richest salutation of all the New Testament letters, and so it is worth our pondering. Peter sets before us the themes of his letter.
Read I Peter 1:1-2 and let the questions below help you meditate on this introduction to I Peter.
1. The word Peter uses to first describe his readers is “exiles” (ESV) or “strangers in the world” (NIV); some suggest the word, “sojourners.” What do all these words teach us about what it means to be a Christian? (cf., Heb. 11:13-16)
2. Nowhere else in the New Testament does the adjective “elect” modify exiles. What does it mean to be “elect”? (Deut. 7:6; John 15:16, 19; Eph. 1:3-6).
3. The third word Peter uses to describe these people is “dispersion.” What do you think that means?
4. Putting these three words together (exiles, elect and dispersion) what is the comfort and the challenge of being a chosen sojourner?
5. Peter draws on the work of all three persons of the Trinity in addressing and describing his readers. What does each person of the Trinity do?
6. What do you think the foreknowledge of God has to do with the chosen sojourners? Is God’s foreknowledge just knowing facts beforehand or is it something more? (I Pet.1:20; Acts 2:23; Rom. 8:29)
7. What is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of these chosen sojourners?
8. What is God’s purpose for these chosen sojourners? (Rom. 12:1-2; John 14:21)
9. What do you think “sprinkling with his blood” means and how does it relate to being chosen for obedience to Jesus? (cf., Exodus 24:3-8; Hebrews 9:13-14; I John 1:7)
10. What do you take away from these first two verses? How might this address be of comfort and challenge to you as you follow Jesus?
God be with you and see you on Sunday! Dan