So what is the bottom line, the objective, the final goal and purpose of fighting the good fight when everyone else around us seems to have adopted the philosophy of life, to eat, drink and make as much money as you can?
In other words, what is the point of our lives on earth, if, indeed, as some have concluded, there be any point at all? The end of life, if we descend slowly, into that place of departure, has a way of clarifying and simplifying many things. Peter was in prison, writing his last thoughts and admonitions to his people. He had time to reflect when he wasn’t fighting off the fiery darts of doubt and fear. He had been in prison before and had experienced a miraculous release at the hand of angels. How exciting. Too bad he was half asleep through the whole thing.
But this time was different, a different time, a different appointment, a different knowing. Peter had matured in his faith. He was ready to write now. He had been through the theological wars with Paul, as to who was to participate in this heavenly calling, Jews only or Gentiles also. He had learned to let go of the unimportant, the types and shadows of things to come and embrace the things that had come in the person of Jesus Christ, the long-awaited Messiah.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,…”(I Pet. 1:3), poured out of his heart onto the parchment. God was the true Father of the Christ. It was true and his hope had not been spent in vain! The hope had been sealed and activated in the resurrection of his Master, and he was happy. Life was not pooling in the corner of hopelessness and regret. The boundless mercy and forethought of God had given Peter an ever-living hope and an inheritance that would not fade away or diminish. He had not spent his life in vain pursuit or in vanity of self-indulgence.
To be able to bless God as our Father and acknowledge the hope that is in Him, as the source of our life and strength, is the essence of the revelation we must have to fight the good fight. All else pales in the light of God. We have been born again. Created again. Brought up again, in the mind of God. We were His idea the first time and are His idea again. To know ourselves as His idea, conceived in His mind, is to know the truth about who we are. We are not alone. Peter was not abandoned in that prison cell.
And not only was he not abandoned, he had been given an inheritance, part-ownership in kingdom of his Father. Peter describes that inheritance as one that sits beyond the reach of change and decay. It is imperishable, untainted and unfading, set aside in heaven, with his name on it, reserved in Peter’s heavenly bank account, just for him. Peter’s question had been answered and Jesus’ promise was true. He remembered the day he had so boldly questioned the Master about His direction and intentions for the little following. What compensation would He made for those who “left all and followed Him”?
Jesus did not scold him or hesitate. There would be a lot of sacrifices. Families would be divided over the Gospel. Parents and children would be alienated and angry and separated from each other. Husbands and wives would divorce over the Gospel. Opportunities for personal comfort and the pursuit of houses and lands and fame and fortune would be traded for a life of sacrifice and struggle. Why? Would anyone in their right mind do that? Jesus understood the question perfectly. Everything is not for now, Peter. Life can be lived for later. Later is better in the end and only an option for those who believe.
Prayer: I bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Who had made it all worth it. The sufferings, the set-ups, the set-backs and the struggles, are but “light afflictions, which are but for a moment, and working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (II Cor. 4:17), and nothing to be compared to what God has in store for me. Amen.
Purpose: to know I am only one piece of God’s thousand piece puzzle. To be able to understand His whole purpose and intention for me from my limited perspective is both impossible and disconcerting.