Thursday, April 17, 2014

The right message at the right time. Just for you. And me.

"an apostle of Jesus Christ"
1 Peter 5:1

One of the things I enjoy when I study the Bible is comparisons.  Looking at one aspect in several places, and finding similarities or differences that stand out to me, and then wondering about or analyzing those aspects. 

Recently I was reading 1 Peter, and something happened to catch my eye.  His introduction.  In the first sentence of that letter, Peter identifies himself only as "an apostle of Jesus Christ."  It's such an astoundingly simple way to acquaint himself with his audience. 

A few chapters later, in 5:1, Peter refers to himself as "a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed."

Why these words?  Why these things about himself?  There was so much he could have said.  He was one of the first disciples called by Jesus.  He was with Jesus for three years, eating and sleeping with Him, hearing His teaching, seeing His miracles firsthand.  His feet were washed by Him.  He was present on the Mount of Transfiguration.

And yet: "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ."

Methinks that maybe further introduction wasn't necessary.  Maybe Peter's reputation preceded him.  But whether or not that's true, didn't matter.  This was the introduction that was perfect, for this audience, in this letter. 

There are a lot of letters in the New Testament.  And I love that Peter, or Paul, who wrote so many, didn't just send the same letter to all the recipients.  They could have.  Their words, which bless us all now, would have blessed everyone in their day, even if they had just kept circulating one great letter.  But they wrote, as led by the Holy Spirit, letters with very specific messages. 

It's a good reminder, when I sit down to read the Bible, that what's waiting for me on any particular day, is exactly what I need.  Each part of it, written just for me, just for now. 

And you too, of course.  Every day.  Just what you need.

~ "My God of mercy shall come to meet me" ~
Psalm 59:10

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