Thursday, July 11, 2013

Now More Than Ever

1 Peter 1:10-11
10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.

Why did the Old Testament prophets try so hard to find out the circumstances and time of Christ's coming? It was because during their time, the Jews were under severe discipline for their rebellion against God. The kingdom of Israel was broken up, the temple destroyed, and the people forced into exile in various lands. But even then, Old Testament believers found hope in the promised Christ. God told them that the Christ would establish God's reign on earth. God says of the Christ in Isa 42:1-7,

1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
2 He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
3 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
4 He will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law.
5 Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
6 I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,
7 to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.

The apostle Peter's point is this: if the promise of the Christ brought joy to the Old Testament saints in the time of their humiliation, how much more should we be joyful, now that the Christ has already come! The prophets had a vague, blurry vision of Him, but we see Him clearly. He is the Son of God become man, born in a manger, rejected by men, crucified for our sins, and raised on the third day. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the Father's right hand! He has sent the Holy Spirit to live inside every believer. And this gospel is being proclaimed to nations. The kingdom of God is closer now than ever before. Surely, we have good reason to rejoice!

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