As we continue our journey together, I am praying for you today. I can imagine you sitting right now with a cup of coffee in hand, journal open, and a heart that’s ready to hear from God about your day. I can see others of you trying to squeeze it in between washing dishes and caring for kids. I can also imagine those of you who are students scrolling back and forth between this devotional and 15 other apps. Whatever your situation, I’m cheering for you!!
You know what gets me excited? Thinking that you are here pursuing Jesus. Trying to get to know Him, seeking Him, and asking Him to speak to you and lead your life. As your pastor, there is nothing I want more than for you to encounter Jesus personally and know His Spirit as the greatest friend one could ever experience.
When we open up the Bible to hear from God, it’s so powerful to imagine ourselves joining with millions of men and women from other countries and other generations searching and inquiring carefully to get to know the Great and Good God of the universe.
I love how Peter brings the OGs (Original Gangstas) into the equation in these few verses. He points to all the original writers of the Bible. Peter knew it as his whole Bible; for us it’s the Old Testament. Peter wants these churches to know that the writers of the Bible were inspired by the Holy Spirit and a huge part of their writing dealt with what they were experiencing.
In fact, one of the best ways to understand the Bible is to see it as a story with one hero—His name is Jesus. This entire first part points forward to His coming, and the second part points back at what happened, as well as His return.
The writers of the Old Testament didn’t have a screen shot or IG story of Jesus’ life, but they wrote down a lot of really important details. Each wrote at various times and places over the course of hundreds of years. They gave crazy details like where He would be born, what kind of life He would live, how He would die, and how he would eventually be resurrected. If you are interested in further study, this is worth your time and would certainly increase your faith. Although we don’t have time to cover these hundreds of prophecies, we do have enough time to be encouraged.
Peter tells us that the many friends who lived and died before Jesus’ time wrote words of Scripture for a specific purpose: to serve us! They wondered about when it would all happen and how the details would come together. Most of them had only the puzzle piece the Holy Spirit revealed to them, but they were faithful to place their little piece on the table. When you put the tapestry of the images together, you get a picture of Jesus. Many scholars say the OT reveals close to 2,000 prophecies. If you have time to go count them, go for it.
What encourages me is the thought that each of them played a part in the bigger story of the moment when HOPE would come in person. They looked forward with vision, Peter looked physically with his eyes, angels look down in wonder, and we look back with hope.
None of this would have been possible if these faithful followers weren’t willing to let themselves be a conduit for a message that was bigger than their individual lives. Their willingness to play their role was enough, and now we benefit from their obedience.
When I get to heaven, I first want to thank Jesus. After that, I want to go up to Jeremiah and thank him for being thrown into a well. Then I hope to find and thank Ezekiel for eating his food cooked over poop. A lot of people have suffered so we can know Jesus. Their sacrifices ought to make us grateful!
Their example also inspires me to serve the next generation with my obedience. God has a specific role for you to play in this generation. It might be hosting a group on Zoom, training your sons and daughters, or carrying out a dream that he’s putting in you right now as a sophomore in high school.
Although the pieces have been placed on the table, things are still coming together. When will Jesus return? What will it look like when He does? How much suffering will He allow in our world and in our generation? Unanswerable today.
The thing we can do today is recognize the wonderful gift we have in Jesus and ask Him to show us our role in making this Good News known. There is somebody you know who may not have another example of faith other than your life.
Sometimes God calls us to live with obedience while embracing ambiguity. This, too, is an act of faith. This, too, requires hope that is not based on my circumstances but on a PERSON.
I may have unanswered questions, but I am not going to live with an unwilling spirit. I will obey even when I don’t see how it all will play out. Today I’m giving Jesus my yes and trusting that all these clues will come together at the right time.
At the right moment He will return on the clouds and make everything right. For today, I have a mission; I have a purpose and a calling. I have GOOD NEWS. I have HOPE. I have POWER and the assurance that the same Holy Spirit who inspired the writers of Scripture will empower and strengthen me to be a light in the midst of darkness.