Bible blog 2223

Again I am continuing my translation of The first letter of Peter, with a running commentary.

Chapter1 from v 10

It was about this “rescue” that they searched thoroughly, those prophets who prophesied of the kindness which would be for you. They were seeking to know what person or time the spirit of Messiah within them was indicating, when giving evidence in advance of Messiah’s suffering and the glory thereafter.

It was disclosed to them that they were not serving themselves but you with the things now announced to you by those who, in the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, brought you the joyful news, things upon which the angels long to gaze.

So unclutter your minds for action, stay sober, fix your hope completely on the kindness that is coming to you, at the disclosure of Jesus Messiah. As obedient children, do not be formed in the fashion of your desires when you knew no better; but in the fashion of the holy one who called you, become holy in your way of life.

Perhaps the author could rely on his mainly Jewish audience to be sensitive to the connections between their messianic faith and the tradition stretching back to Abraham. The joyful news of Jesus, announced by the emissaries, used texts from the Psalms and the Prophets showing Jesus as the fulfilment of messianic expectation. One of the movements of faith for Jewish believers was backwards in time to rediscover the meaning of their own history. Another of course was a surge forward in time from Abraham to Jesus, and from Jesus to the return of Jesus in the end time. The author expresses this double movement and nicely imagines the prophets as serving the promises of God as if they were dishes at table.

The upshot of living between promise and fulfilment is a call to living a holy life in the present. Faith in Jesus flows from the past and is challenged by the future but lives fully in the present and its harsh tests. The uncluttered mind and sober living are conditioned by the hope in God’s “kindness” or “favour” in Jesus, which will issue in eternal life with God. The author’s own appreciation of this “rescue” is beautifully expressed in his comment that these are things that angels long to gaze on.

These people were not sectarian nutters, but nor were they comfy middle class citizens. They wanted to live well in this world, but took risks with their possessions, comfort, reputation and safety, for the sake of a life beyond this world. I think they are a challenge for believers today.

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