June 22. I Peter 3:13-22
GRACE LESSONS: Peter can’t seem to write more than a few sentences without returning to the central message of the gospel. In verse 18 of this passage, he reminds those currently suffering for their faith of the sufferings of Christ. “he never sinned,” says Peter, “but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God.” Oh, the glorious, inexpressible richness of God’s grace toward us!
OUR PASSAGE: This particular passage contains two of the most confusing verses in the entire New Testament. I Peter 3:19-20: “So he went and preached to the spirits in prison—those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood.” Did Jesus somehow minister to the spirits of those who died before He came to die on the cross? Were the people of Noah’s day given an after-death opportunity to repent? We know too little from these two verses to say anything with complete confidence. There are two different trains of thought on this. One is that Christ spoke through Noah, back in the day, to those who could have been saved but refused to believe, just as many will refuse to believe, today, though Christ can speak through us. The second train of thought, actually held to by Calvin and Luther, great reformation thinkers, is that Jesus’ spirit, while his body lay dead between death and resurrection, actually helped those people born before His coming to earth understand Who He was, giving them a chance to come to Him. Now, this is a ridiculously brief summary of major theological thought that is to a large degree beyond my grasp. So. If you are interested, friend, dig deeper, using a trusted commentary. Or, just accept it, as I do, as a grand mystery and move on, knowing all that Jesus does is right and good, and that if He did in fact talk to those who died before He was born – YAY. And if He didn’t, that was the right thing to do then. Those are my unsophisticated thoughts on that thorny subject. Perhaps some day God will give me more light there. (My source was Biblehub.com commentaries.)
My verses: I Peter 3:15-16a “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way …”
My response: Help me, Lord, to truly honor You as Lord of my life. When someone asks me about You, help me answer them with gentleness and respect, not demeaning them in any way. Show me how to share my faith so that people are eager to listen and learn and don’t feel shut down! Give me boldness in these darker days to still speak of You.