The Cross Requires a Continual Response
"He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right." ! Peter 2:24 (NLT)
The deeper I go into Peter's letters to the scattered exiles, the more I feel I know this man. His many human faux pas have been well documented in scripture, but in his epistles he reveals a beautiful visionary soul. He reveals this with courageous authority and unashamed humility.
His vision is eternal life...
His authority is Jesus Christ...
His humility is the Cross.
What a glorious testimony of a man who once opposed Jesus to His face, chastising Him for saying he was going to suffer and die, then shortly denying he had ever known Jesus at all.
But, the Cross...the Cross does something to people, doesn't it?
How Peter lays out his letter is very compelling and it's no wonder our hearts pound with deeper passion as we go along.
Peter acknowledges the heaviness and grief his fellow Believers are suffering. What does he do? He stirs them up to rejoice! Not rejoice with a lowercase "r" but, REJOICE with all caps! "Be overflowing with joy!", he tells them.
To some, this might seem insensitive, but we see in this, a man who has lived where they are, suffering many tests and trials himself (some in the very face of His Savior) now stirring up and strengthening other afflicted Believers. In a sense, he's saying, LOOK AHEAD! KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE FUTURE PRIZE, THE SALVATION OF YOUR SOULS!
But he doesn't stop there. He shifts his focus from future glory to past persecution...Jesus' persecution. Peter's life was no longer about Peter and his failures. The cross changed him. His focus became Jesus Christ. As Peter encourages us to look ahead to our salvation, he also points us to look back and remember the price that was paid.
"As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow."
Peter reminds his readers that Christ's sufferings were a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, that humiliation and suffering of the Christ was the key part of God's divine Plan of Redemption. It was this work that brought about salvation--Christ's sufferings. And so Peter reminds us, too, of this vitally motivating detail of our faith.
Our salvation is not only about what is to come for those who believe, but WHO already came and why. Peter takes us back to the beginning:
The Gospel. The Cross.
And that's what I want us to remember this morning--the Cross. This very raw and unavoidable display of Truth;
The Cross being God's declaration of grace as the most exceptional display of His glory to all mankind.
And the Cross also being Jesus' response, not only to who God is, but to who we are.
For us, even today, the Cross is the ultimate crossroad where the epitome of Truth and man's free-will meet for all who have come after Adam. It's where a perfectly holy God and sinful, broken man collide.
The Cross always demands a response.
LOOK AHEAD! KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE FUTURE PRIZE, THE SALVATION OF YOUR SOULS!
by Dana Lange