Meet Peter, An Apostle of Jesus Christ

Catherine McNiel | January 1, 2018

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1 Peter 1:1–2

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:

Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

—1 Peter 1:1–2

Happy New Year!

By God’s grace, planet earth has completed another revolution around the sun, and today we begin a new year. This coming Sunday, we also begin a new sermon series on 1 Peter.

It’s a treat for us to open this book and find a letter from Peter. From the opening pages of the New Testament, Peter has been a major character. We’ve met him in the narratives captured by the Gospel writers, and by the stories and sermons recorded by Luke in Acts. He’s even mentioned by Paul in the epistle to the Galatians. There is more written about Peter than anyone else in the New Testament outside of Jesus Himself.

But after hundreds of chapters we have yet to hear directly from this man who has captured our imagination. The man who left his nets to follow Jesus, who attempted to walk on water; the man who cut off an ear of the High Priest’s servant in Gethsemane, then hours later denied knowing Jesus at all; the man who preached powerfully at Pentecost and declared the Gospel to the Sanhedrin.

Yes, as we open this book, it would be fair to say that Peter’s reputation has proceeded him.

What is Peter’s intent in writing this letter, and to whom is it written? After introducing himself as “an apostle of Jesus Christ” meaning, someone coming with the authority of Jesus, he addresses God’s elect, referring to them as “exiles” scattered throughout various cities and regions of Asia Minor.

The fact that Peter refers to his audience as exiles and foreigners throughout this letter is key to his message, as we shall see throughout the week. And the topic he has in mind is not an easy one—how to live in community, with hope, while suffering.

Questions for reflection and discussion: What do you know of Peter from listening to his stories? What do you expect from a letter written by him? 

This week's devotions were written by Catherine McNiel. Catherine and her family have been part of WBC since 2008. Her husband, Matthew, is the director of Puente del Pueblo, our church’s ministry that serves residents of the Timber Lake Apartments and several other areas of West Chicago. 

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