Messianic Hope & Grace in Times of Trial

Posted by on Apr 3, 2020 in Teachings, Video
Messianic Hope & Grace in Times of Trial

Message 4: God’s Grace in Salvation – Living in hope Part 2 (1 Peter 1:10-12) Written by Lawrence Hirsch

Author & Audience

We have begun a series of sermons from the letter that Shimon Kefa (Simon Peter) wrote to the believing communities who were living in the region of Asia Minor (mostly in modern day Turkey). Shimon and his brother were Jewish fishermen who had a life-changing encounter with Rabbi Yeshua. They were 2 of the 12 Jewish disciples of Yeshua who not only followed him as their rabbi but they also believed that he was the Promised Messiah of Israel. Shimon Kefa became the leader of this band of disciples and later the chief of the Shl’chim, the Apostles. He is noted as being the Apostle to the Jews while Paul was primarily the Apostle to the Gentiles. Peter turned out to the leader of the early messianic movement of Jews who believed in Yeshua as the Messiah.

Peter is known as the Apostle of Hope and Grace and as we have noted in the first few verses of the Epistle, that Peter wrote this letter primarily to messianic Jewish believers. This is of course consistent with the fact that Peter was called as an Apostle, a Shaliach, to the Jews, while Sha’ul was called as an Apostle to the Gentiles. We also noted in the introduction, and it continues to be important as we seek to understand what is written, that this Epistle was written to the communities who were going through times of trial and suffering and they were also about to enter into a greater time of persecution by the Roman Emperor Nero somewhere between 62-65AD. This series is entitled “Hope and Grace in Times of Trial.”

In this truly pastoral letter, Peter encourages us in our daily walk with God no matter what we are going through in our lives. Through his words, God speaks to our hearts about our identity and our calling in Messiah as a holy priesthood standing fast in the true grace of God, empowered to be his witnesses in this world. Even though this letter was primarily written to messianic Jewish believers, we know that there were also many grafted in Gentiles who were part of those communities in Asia Minor. As such, the recipients of the letter were very much like Hineh Yeshua – Jews and Gentiles one in Messiah.

Outline (Adapted from Warren Wiersbe’s expository outlines of the Bible):

[1]

Last Time

Last time we were truly encouraged by Peter who reminded us that our hope in Messiah is a living hope because we serve and believe in a Living Messiah. We were also assured that our hope is a future hope, it is likened to a future inheritance that is kept secure for us in the olam haba, in the age to come that will be ushered in by the return of the Messiah. But our hope is also a Present Hope because God is able to keep us through times of trials and suffering in our lives.

For a great testimony on rejoicing during suffering listen to Louise Hirsch’s.

God uses times of trials to test our faith and to purify it as is gold purified in the fiery furnace. But God, through his Spirit keeps us through these times and will even use our testimonies as a witness to others. That is why we can to the absurd; rejoice in our suffering! Our lives, and even our suffering, are to bring praise, glory and honour to the one we love – God. However, our living hope is not only a future and a present hope, but it is also a past hope. Let’s look at our text for today.

A Past Hope (1:10-12)

10 The prophets, who prophesied about this gift of deliverance that was meant for you, pondered and inquired diligently about it. 11 They were trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of the Messiah in them was referring in predicting the Messiah’s sufferings and the glorious things to follow. 12 It was revealed to them that their service when they spoke about these things was not for their own benefit, but for yours. And these same things have now been proclaimed to you by those who communicated the Good News to you through the Ruach HaKodesh sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things!

The living hope of the new birth springs not only from our future inheritance and present experience but also from our faith in God’s written Word (v. 11). Our faith is not based on the mere writings of men but on the inspired Word of God. [2] We believe, of course, that God divinely inspired the writers of the Bible to give us His word. In verses 10 & 11, Peter is saying in summary: “The prophets… pondered and inquired diligently … They were trying to find out the time and circumstances… in predicting the Messiah’s sufferings and the glorious things to follow.” Seeking to understand what was revealed through them, the prophets inquired diligently to understand fully what God was revealing to them. It would have been hard for them to understand what really amounts to a Messianic paradox – the Neviim (the writings of the prophets) really give us two contradictory aspects of the Messiah’s ministry; suffering and glory.

We know well the prophecies of the Messiah’s glory: he is going to be a King from the house of David, He is going to sit on David’s throne in Jerusalem, he is going to establish God’s kingdom, he is going to bring peace on earth, the lion will lie down with the lamb, nations will learn of war no more and will be ruled in justice by the Messiah and the Word of God will go forth from Jerusalem. And many other glorious predictions of the Messiah’s ministry. But the prophets also speak about the Messiah being humble and riding on a donkey into Jerusalem, being rejected by his own people, being marred beyond human likeness, suffering and dying for the sins of others, bearing the sins of Israel and the sins of the world upon himself. It is hard to understand these seeming contradictions. Which is why the rabbis came up with an explanation: Mashiach ben Josef and Mashiach ben David explanations…

The disciples on the road to Emmaus also didn’t understand (Cf. Luke 24:13ff)… “He said to them, “Foolish people! So unwilling to put your trust in everything the prophets spoke! Didn’t the Messiah have to die like this before entering his glory?” Then, starting with Moshe and all the prophets, he explained to them the things that can be found throughout the Tanakh concerning himself.” (Luke 24:25–27, CJB)

Then a little later, when the two disciples caught up with the eleven and the others with them and told them that Yeshua had appeared to them and what he had taught them. And as they are telling these things, again Yeshua appears to them all and says “Shalom Aleichem…” And then… “Yeshua said to them, “This is what I meant when I was still with you and told you that everything written about me in the Torah of Moshe, the Prophets and the Psalms had to be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds, so that they could understand the Tanakh,” (Luke 24:44–45, CJB)

The disciples had their minds spiritually opened to understand this messianic paradox. Suffering before glory… I’m sure Peter was reflecting on Isaiah 53 in particular at this time… “Predicting the Messiah’s suffering and glory to follow…” (Mashiach ben Josef…)

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, One from whom people hide their faces. He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our pains. Yet we esteemed Him stricken, struck by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities. The chastisement for our shalom was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. We all like sheep have gone astray. Each of us turned to his own way. So Adonai has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:3–6, TLV)

If that is the way for Messiah (suffering and then glory) then it must be the same way for his followers. We should be encouraged that we too will experience glory after we suffer for a little while. And also, since the Messiah has fulfilled the messianic prophecies about his suffering, well, what lies ahead is the glory to follow… the second coming of Messiah and his glorious kingdom that will be ushered in…

1 Peter 1:12 (CJB), 12 It was revealed to them that their service when they spoke about these things was not for their own benefit, but for yours. And these same things have now been proclaimed to you by those who communicated the Good News to you through the Ruach HaKodesh sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things!

The prophets spoke of this salvation we enjoy. They did not, however, fully understand the time or circumstances in which it would appear. One commentator puts it this way. The prophets “…looked ahead by faith and saw, as it were, two mountain peaks: Mount Calvary, where Messiah suffered and died (Isa. 53), and Mount Olivet, where He will return in glory (Zech. 14:4). They could not see the “valley” in between, the present age of the church.[3]

Prophetic Perspective

I can illustrate this using photography. When you look through or take a photo with a telescopic lens, the background and the foreground looks closer together… However, if you take a photo of the same scene using a standard lens, then you will see that there is quite a distance between the foreground and the background. This is the problem of perspective… the prophets were seeing into the future, they couldn’t see that there was a considerable amount of time between the present and the future. They were looking, as it were, through telescopic lenses into the future; the time between the suffering of the Messiah and the glory of the Messiah, was not understood. They didn’t realise that there may be at least two thousand years in between.

The disciples also didn’t realise that. When the resurrected Messiah appeared to them in Acts chapter 1, the first thing they ask him is: “…Lord, are You restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” [i.e. are you coming in your glory now to Israel?] He said to them, “It is not your place to know the times or seasons which the Father has placed under His own control. But you will receive power when the Ruach ha-Kodesh has come upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and through all Judah, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”” (Acts 1:6–8, TLV) Peter is reminding us that we today have received the revelation to which prophets and angels alike long to find. We have revelation from the Holy Spirit that makes angels jealous… (if that were possible…)

The Return of the King

To us has been revealed that the same Messiah, Yeshua the Righteous, will fulfill both the Suffering Servant and the Reigning Lord. As we have seen Yeshua fulfill the passages throughout the Hebrew Scriptures of Yeshua ben Yosef, soon, very soon, we shall see Him split the sky with the armies of heaven with Him. Soon we shall see Yeshua return and set up the kingdom of David, and rule and reign!


[1] Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (p. 737). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[2] Raymer, R. M. (1985). 1 Peter. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 842). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[3] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 395). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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