Reading these chapters, more than anything else I’m struck by the excitement in Peter’s writing. Like Paul, he’s swept along by the wonder that, in Christ, the Gentiles have been welcomed into the ancient Covenant between Israel and God.
Like Paul, again, he calls his readers to respond to God’s grace with disciplined minds and lives so that we are ready for action (1:13). He focuses on the image of Christ as the spotless Lamb of sacrifice, whose death has ransomed us from the futile ways of our ancestors. What would these mean for us?
We are invited to place ourselves within the great story of God’s faithfulness and promise, lived out through Israel and now for the whole world in Christ. Like the writer to the Hebrews, Peter tells us that the prophets of old glimpsed a future beyond their own experience of God, and even beyond the experience of angels. (1:12) This is the ground of Peter’s excitement in writing; that in Christ something beyond all that has been before has been revealed for our sake. Only now does God speak from within human experience.
Now, though many of God’s ancient people have tripped on the new revelation of God in Jesus, we are invited to be part of the chosen race, royal priesthood and holy nation which was always Israel’s calling. (2:9)
We’re invited to take our place in God’s story, still unfolding for the sake of the world. The image of living stones (2:4-5) reminds us that we come with all our individuality, and that it is in Christ and only in him that we find unity and are built together into a living temple, a people among whom God is present.
I’ve mentioned Peter’s excitement already. As I’ve read and written today I’m aware of a lack of excitement in my own faith. I plan to spend time over the next couple of weeks reflecting on the ‘futility’ I would be living in without him. What would my life be like if I didn’t know God?
I think that might remind me of why this all matters so much.