Reader: “Though you do not see him now,”
Response: “you trust him.”
Scripture: I Peter 1:8-12
You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward.
They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
This is a most interesting and insightful passage as recorded by Peter. He is writing to Christians who are being persecuted in Asia Minor, in what is today the nation of Turkey. He is writing to challenge his readers to holy living in the midst of a difficult, antagonistic culture. I wonder if Peter was perhaps thinking of Thomas, one of his fellow disciples, when he wrote “though you do not see him now, you trust him” in reference to Jesus. In these days of global unrest, do we trust our Savior in this biggest picture, or succumb to fear? The Greek word for “souls” often refers to the whole person, hence the phrase, “salvation of your souls.” Likewise, here it does not refer simply to one aspect of a person, but to the entirety of the person, not just some inner spiritual being. Your whole person is saved at the coming of the Lord, not just the spiritual part of you. The next portion referring to the Old Testament prophets is fascinating to me. Sometimes, as in the days of Noah, a prophet received a message from the Lord concerning something that was going to happen. The prophet Noah preached repentance to no avail and the Flood happened in his lifetime. But can you imagine being a prophet and having a clear message come to you like Noah, but without a specific time in which it would occur? You have the Spirit of Christ in you which is separate from you speaking through you. You learn of the suffering of a Messiah and the great glory that would follow . . . but it never happens in your lifetime. You die without ever seeing your word from the Holy Spirit fulfilled. Do you realize we are in a kind of “Old Testament time” in the sense that we also are awaiting and looking for the Second and final coming of the Lord? The Good News of salvation and what is to come is being preached all over the world as the Holy Spirit speaks through various people as we await the unfolding of the glorious conclusion! Peter writes that even the angels are “eagerly watching” these things happening. The phrase, “eagerly watching,” is the same Greek word used of the disciples when they peered into the empty tomb. There is a curiosity element here. Angels have known Christ in the realm of heaven and then Christ in human form only to have him return to heaven in a glorified human body. No one in heaven or on earth has experienced what is to come, so “eagerly watching” is a most apropos expression. Though we have never seen him, we eagerly watch and wait with a trusting curiosity. The Lord is coming back.
Music: “At the Name of Jesus” Cardiff Festival Choir
(This hymn traces the work and call of Christ from Creation to his Second Coming in seven verses.)
At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow,
Every tongue confess him King of glory now:
‘Tis the Father’s pleasure we should call him Lord,
Who from the beginning was the mighty Word.
At his voice creation sprang at once to sight,
All the angels faces, all the hosts of light,
Thrones and Dominations, stars upon their way,
All the heavenly orders in their great array.
Humbled for a season to receive a name
From the lips of sinners unto whom he came,
Faithfully he bore it, spotless to the last,
Brought it back victorious, when from death he passed:
Bore it up triumphant with its human light,
Through all ranks of creatures to the central height,
To the throne of Godhead, to the Father’s breast;
Filled it with the glory of that perfect rest.
Name him, brothers, name him, with love as strong as death,
But with awe and wonder and with bated breath:
He is God the Saviour, He is Christ the Lord,
Ever to be worshipped, trusted, and adored.
In your hearts enthrone him; there let him subdue
All that is not holy, all that is not true:
Crown him as your captain in temptation’s hour;
Let his will enfold you in its light and power.
Brothers, this Lord Jesus shall return again,
With his Father’s glory, with his angel train;
For all wreaths of empire meet upon his brow,
And our hearts confess him King of glory now.
All searching God, Thou readest the heart, viewest principles and motives of actions, seest more defilement in my duties than I ever saw in any of my sins. The heavens are not clean in thy sight, and thou chargest the angels with folly; I am ready to flee from myself because of my abominations; yet thou dost not abhor me but hast devised means for my return to thee, and that by thy Son who died to give me life. Thine honor is secured and displayed even in my escape from thy threats, and that, by means of Jesus in whom mercy and truth meet together and righteousness and peace kiss each other. In him the enslaved find redemption, the guilty pardon, and unholy renovation; in him are everlasting strength for the weak, unsearchable riches for the needy, treasures of wisdom and knowledge for the ignorant, fullness for the empty. At thy gracious call I hear, take, come, apply, receive his grace, not only submit to his mercy but acquiesce in it, not only glory in the cross but in him crucified and slain, not only joy in forgiveness but in the one through whom atonement comes. Thy blessings are as secure as they are glorious; thou hast provided for my safety and my prosperity and hast promised that I shall stand firm and grow stronger. O Lord God, without the pardon of my sin, I cannot rest satisfied without the renovation of my nature by grace, I can never rest easy, without the hopes of heaven I can never be at peace. All this I have in thy Son Jesus; blessed be his name for ever and ever. Amen. ―The Valley of Vision p.21