The Unseen Truth-Giver
Peter was writing to encourage Christians in trouble. The danger of persecution and sense of isolation made them vulnerable; they might be tempted to abandon their faith. Peter had urged them to keep obeying Jesus, reminding them of their future inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-5) and their present joy as they experience Christ's love (1 Peter 1:8-9). Now he presents the Old Testament as a major encouragement for Christians. Although the prophets did not know Jesus, the Spirit of Christ was within them and enabled them to write accurately about His death and resurrection (Psalm 22:15-18; Isaiah 53:1-9).
Even when our confidence in the future is dimmed and our present experience is clouded by trouble, the Bible is always God's reliable Word to us. The prophets knew that they were writing about things outside of their human knowledge; as hard as they tried, they could not work it out. But they knew that God was urging them to record His Word, which, later, would make a lot of sense to many people like us. Their words serve not only to inform us about God's grace through Jesus, but also to reassure us that His suffering was no accident, and His resurrection was all planned by God, so that we might share His future glory. The Holy Spirit was the unseen truth-giver to the writers and continues to reveal the truth about Jesus to us who read (2 Peter 1:20-21).
The teachings of Jesus and the preaching of the apostles is fully validated by the Old Testament. Over 500 Old Testament quotations appear in the New Testament to interpret the life and work of Jesus. The same Holy Spirit who inspired the prophets and apostles to write, still inspires us as we read, so that we might believe the gospel and be saved (2 Thessalonians 2:13). Even the angels were amazed as they saw the plan for our salvation unfold!
Many of the prophets saw suffering: although they wrote about God's glory, none of them saw it. Both they and us are waiting for Jesus to come back (Hebrews 11:39-40) in His full glory (Matthew 25:31). In the meantime, we should be confident about God's salvation and love for us, because the Holy Spirit is still speaking the same message through faithful gospel preachers today. Even when life is tough, as it was for Peter’s readers, we really can trust God's Word. We can also be certain that the untidy suffering of faith will be followed by glory. The Bible shows us how the prophets predicted it, Jesus endured it and was released from it. Therefore, we can be sure of sharing His glory (2 Thessalonians 2:13-15). In the light of that we are called to live each day with confidence whatever troubles may come, trusting Jesus to sustain and provide. The workplace is the gospel interface between the church and the world. Give out, and live out, the truth you have read, so that the Holy Spirit will reveal Jesus to your friends and colleagues.
© Dr Paul Adams