Sermon Series: God's Provision for Humanity
Scriptures: 1 Peter 1:18–25
Connection to unit theme: Jesus' perfect life, substitutionary death, and victorious resurrection were all necessary for our redemption. Meditating on each of these truths should lead us to worship and adore our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Life of Pi is a story of courage, faith, and perseverance. The family of the main character, Pi, is forced to relocate their zoo to Canada due to changes in the Indian government. A few days into their journey the ship encounters a storm and sinks. Pi is able to get to a lifeboat and survive the wreck. To his surprise, he discovers a raging Bengal tiger named Richard Parker under the tarpaulin. The story unfolds as he - and the tiger - make their way across the Pacific Ocean. Upon rescue, Pi recounts his miraculous story to the Japanese Ministry of Transport. They are so dumbfounded by it, that he makes up another story to sound more credible. Some stories are just too good to be true.
The gospel is a story that, for many, sounds too good to be true. But the New Testament authors were convinced of its truth. Jesus Christ really was God in the flesh who lived sinlessly, died shamefully, and rose victoriously. Now anyone who has faith in him can be a righteous, holy, and justified son or daughter of God.
Let's look at how Peter reminded his hearers of this glorious gospel. He tell us four things about Jesus in this text.
I: He was priceless (v. 18)
Jesus Christ is the most valuable person in the universe. Nothing compares to him. When God sent Him to the earth He sent his most prized and cherished possession. In other words, when God sent Jesus He sent everything! He redeemed us "not with perishable things like silver or gold" (v. 18). Peter declares that our situation was so desperate and our sin so severe that it took the precious blood of Christ to save us (v. 19). The futile ways of our forefathers condemned us to a slavery from which nothing could free us. Only the priceless life of Jesus in our stead could ransom us from eternal death and judgment.
Application: Think of how valuable Jesus was to God. Meditate on how much it cost God to redeem us.
II: He was perfect (v. 19)
Jesus was the perfect Lamb of God. He had no blemish or spot (v. 19). He was "tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15). "He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth" (1 Pet. 2:22). Jesus Christ perfectly obeyed God in all things. He lived the life that we should have lived. Peter uses Old Testament sacrificial language here. Sacrificed animals were supposed to be without blemish or defect (cf. Mal. 1:8). God wanted - and demanded - the best from His people. Jesus Christ is the perfect offering God required.
C.S. Lewis captured this truth well with the death of Aslan. After foiling the White Witch, Aslan says, "But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward" (Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, 162). Jesus willingly laid down His perfect life in our place.
Application: In all that ways that we sinned, Jesus obeyed. Praise Him for not only dying in your place, but living in your place.
III: He was planned (v. 20)
Before God made the world, He planned to send Jesus Christ to live, die, and rise again. He was chosen (ESV: "foreknown") from all eternity. This is mind-boggling when we consider it. Before Adam ever sinned, God planned that Jesus would save us from our sins!
In Acts chapter 4 the believers are recovering from their first dose of persecution. As they pray to the Father they declare those who punished Jesus did "whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place" (Acts 4:27–28, emphasis added). The death of Jesus was not Plan B for God. It was the plan.
Application: While this truth may confound us, it nonetheless should move us to worship. That God planned to send Christ before He made the world is one more reason to be in awe of Him.
IV: He is the path (v. 21)
That Jesus is the only way to God is confirmed through His death and resurrection. God judged Him for our sins and vindicated Him to justify us in His sight (Rom. 4:25). Only through Him can we know, and be known by, God. He suffered for us that he might bring us to God (1 Pet. 3:18). There is no other name under heaven that can save us (Acts 4:12), but only Jesus Christ. No other religion can claim what Christianity claims. Our God took on flesh, dwelt sinlessly among us, died in our place, and rose again.
Application: Does it offend you that Jesus is the only way? Have you considered why Christians make this claim? Will you investigate it for yourself?
In JRR Tolkien's The Return of the King, Eowyn, the king's niece, enters a battle secretly. She faces a Nazgul, one of the deadliest foes from Mordor. When Merry, the Hobbit, recognizes that it is Eowyn fighting, Tolkien writes, "Pity filled his heart and great wonder, and suddenly the slow-kindled courage of his face awoke. He clenched his hand. She should not die, so fair, so desperate! At least she should not die alone, unaided" (Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 841). Eowyn wasn't supposed to be there. It was too good to be true. One glance at the gospel reveals that Jesus, from a human standpoint, wasn't supposed to die for us. He owed us nothing but gave everything to redeem us. This is amazing grace!