Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
Simon Peter is a key player in Jesus’ ministry and in the development of the early church. He calls himself a “servant” of Jesus Christ, knowing that he has been specially chosen and called into service, and also an “apostle,” one who is commissioned and sent on mission by the Lord himself. Indeed, like all the disciples (minus Judas Iscariot), Peter was uniquely sent as an eyewitness to share the Gospel message and bear testimony to Christ.
What a privileged position.
Yet I am struck by how Peter addresses this letter. He’s writing to first-century Christians in Asia Minor, but also to you and to me. Listen to how he addresses us:
“To those who through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours.”
It’s that phrase, “as precious as ours,” that stands out. The faith which Peter stepped into in Christ Jesus was undeniably precious. But he’s telling me and you that our faith in Christ is just “as precious.” Amazing.
Think with me about the faith that was nurtured in Simon Peter’s own life. When he first met Jesus, the Lord gave him a special name, calling him “Peter” – Rock – even when he was still so un-rock-like, yet calling him into future growth and spiritual maturity. He was there when Jesus took five loaves and two fish and fed a crowd that included 5,000 men. He was there when Jesus did the same for a crowd of 4,000. He was in the boat on storm-tossed Galilee when Jesus came near, striding through the sea’s waves. Having overcome his initial fright, Peter called out for Jesus to invite him on to the waves. How could he ever forget those moments of walking on the surface, then sinking through fear, then being gripped by Jesus’ strong arm, and rescued back into the boat again?
Peter was there on the Mount of Transfiguration, with James and John, and saw Jesus’ glory unveiled. He was with them when Jesus spoke words of life to Jairus’ daughter, telling her, “Little girl, get up!” He was reclining at the table on the night of Jesus’ betrayal as the Lord took his feet in hand and insisted that he wash them clean. He was there in the Garden, sleeping, as Jesus agonized in prayer. He was there for the arrest. He got close enough to the location of Jesus’ trial to feel threatened and, seeking to save his own skin, he vehemently denied even knowing Jesus – three times over.
He was there on the morning of the resurrection, entering the empty tomb and seeing the grave clothes. Later that day he had a private encounter with Jesus (Luke 24:34), and then saw him again that evening with the rest of the disciples in the Upper Room, with all doors locked.
Later, on a Galilean beach, he received grilled fish from Jesus’ own hand, and then a renewed, three-fold commissioning to “Feed my lambs.”
No wonder his faith was precious.
But Peter himself tells us that those of us who have been saved through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ have a faith instilled in us that is as precious as his own. It comes saturated with grace and peace poured out on us through knowing the Father and the Son.
Hang on to this precious gift. Stand in its confidence. Like Peter, revel in the memories of what Jesus has done. Lean into his grace – present and sure. Know him more deeply. Abide in his righteousness. Live in knowledge of him.
To his glory.
Lord Jesus, praise you for the gift of knowing you. Father, thank you for the gift of your righteousness. By your Spirit, let me live this year in ever-increasing knowledge of you. Amen.
Reflect: Take one of Peter’s own experiences of Jesus and make it your own. Bring it to mind all day. Seek to live in its awareness.
Image by Deb Radeka from Pixabay