The Cross Words Puzzle Faced by the Prophets (1 Peter 1:3-20)

We have been talking throughout this series about words – cross words – and having some fun with building puzzles and crisscrossing words in various ways. You see this in our written devotionals as well as with the stage set (which you can see in a picture on the online landing page, if you are among those following this from a distance like my son Jesse in France – “Hi Jesse!”).

We are able to know and understand these words and concepts from the perspective of a later time in history where we may look back at what has already happened. There yet remains a future fulfillment in the unveiling of the final completion of God’s work. We have this guarantee as a “living hope” in the resurrection of Christ – who lives and has given us through faith a new birth into an inheritance that cannot fade or be destroyed. But overall, we are blessed to possess God’s completed revelation in the Scriptures that detail for us what God has done, along with more than a few hints at what is still ahead.

We actually know way more than the prophets of the Old Testament knew. These great men like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, and Zechariah desperately longed to know the things that we now clearly understand. They desired clarity on the prophecies about which they themselves wrote, but they did not get it – all they knew is that what they penned would serve people at a later time. The original language (Greek) verbs for how the prophets were “… searching intently … trying to find out …” are terms that speak of an intensely thorough, turning everything upside down type of investigation to discover something. It even tells us that the angels of God “long to look into these things” – which is the translation of an original word picturing someone from the outside peering into or peeping within to get a view.

The Old Testament prophets were led to write about a Messiah to come. They not only wrote, they also read what other prophets before them had written. They tried to understand it all and put it together, because it was very confusing to them. They knew the coming Messiah would suffer, but they also knew and wrote of his victory and kingdom reign. When would it be? How could this be? The best illustration that I have used over the years is a picture of the Old Testament prophet as looking toward the future, where from his perspective were two mountaintops in the same view – with a cross on the nearer shorter hill, and a crown on the larger more distant mountain. From where he stood, all he could see is both of them at the same time, seemingly in the same place. We are in the valley between, and we have God’s Word to guide our view in both directions.

Today’s passage is immensely practical about what we should do with this advanced knowledge. We should live a different sort of life than the majority of others around us, recognizing we are responsible to God for what we do and how we live. This world should never really feel like home; it is a place where we serve out our time as foreigners – the ambassadors of another world. We are the purchased members of another eternal kingdom, having been redeemed by the payment of the blood of the eternal spotless lamb – Jesus Christ.

Gold is mentioned twice in this passage, and silver once. We are told in hundreds of commercials to invest in these metals as a protection against the uncertainties of varied global currencies. Yet in this Scripture, gold is spoken of as a perishable thing compared to the certainty of eternal life and our inheritance in Christ. As always, the values of this world and the values of eternity totally clash. This is why it is such a value for us to know of the “cross words” that make all of the difference!

1 Peter 1:3-20 – Praise to God for a Living Hope

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

Be Holy

13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

Cross Word:

Deity – Salvation is totally a work of God. He takes the initiative and provides the perfect sacrifice … which has to, of necessity, be the divine Son of God. If Jesus is merely a good man, a great moral example, or whatever, we do not have a payment for sin and the opportunity for forgiveness and imputed righteousness. 

puzzle day 15