Jesus in I and II Peter
Throughout both I and II Peter we find observations about Jesus. Together, these observations add up to a substantial comment on the special character of Christ and the importance of His life, death, and resurrection. This week we will trace out two or three of these themes along with the meaning of the titles Christ, Lord, Saviour, and god when applied to Jesus.
Jesus our Sacrifice I Peter 1:18, 19
In the Old Testament, Christ is often represented as the lamb that was laid upon the altar and sacrificed on an altar of sacrifice. A reference is made to this in the second verse of I Peter chapter 1 where it speaks of: “elect according to the fore-knowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. The phrase “Sprinkled with . . . blood” is strongly associated with the animal sacrifice, given that the blood to be sprinkled is usually that of the sacrificed animal. In the Old Testament, that blood from animal sacrifices was sprinkled on a number of people and objects. It was sprinkled on Aaron when he was consecrated as the high priest (Exodus 29:19-21). It was sprinkled on or before the curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place in the sanctuary and later in the temple (Leviticus 4:6, 17). It was sprinkled on the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant on the day of atonement (Leviticus 16:15). Blood always used in this fashion was a symbol of the cleansing power of Christ’s the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.
The truth is, in Peter, the death of Christ, by way of His sacrifice of dying on the cross, which results in those that believe on Him being redeemed. In I Peter 1:18, 19 it is stated this way. “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conducted received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as the lamb without blemish and without spot.”
The word redeemed has this basic meaning as found in Webster’s dictionary: “REDEE’MED, participle passive Ransomed; delivered from bondage, distress, penalty, liability, or from the possession of another, by paying an equivalent.”
When Adam and Eve first sinned, they were subject to death and death is the permanent separation from God, who created us. God stepped in and said, “wait one minute, I created them through Jesus, I love them, in fact I love them so much I cannot bear to be permanently separated from them, so I will send a substitute. One that will pay a ransom to bring them back to me. This was done when Christ died upon the cross. The spotless lamb sacrificed on the altar was a representation of the innocence the spotless character of Christ, who came to live, and die in our stead.
God said, “Adam and Eve sinned, but if another could come and live a spotless, sinless life, then he could become the substitute for Adam, Eve, and all their decendants down through the ages.”
When Christ died upon the cross he cried out, “My God, My God why has Thou forsaken Me” (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). At that point in time as Christ hung upon the cross with the weight of sin upon him, he felt the total separation from God the Father, the type of separation that we would have experienced if God had not stepped in with a plan.
Christ paid the ransom to redeem us that we upon acceptance of Christ as our Saviour, should never have to experience total and complete separation from God. Death will come to us all, but death is only temporary, for Christ will come again in clouds of Glory to receive to Himself, his faithful followers who have fallen asleep in the Lord, and those still alive who have remained faithful to Him.
I Peter 1:18, 19 revolves around the double image of redemption and the blood of a sacrifice. Christians having been redeemed at a great cost-the cost of Jesus’ death.