From Peter, an emissary of Jesus the Messiah.
I write to those who were beckoned by God, people who no longer fit in this world like they used to, scattered in homes and cities across SouthWest Asia — God knew you and selected you before you were even born, and He washed your spirit in His, so that you might have the joy of obeying Jesus the Messiah who purifies your heart with every drop of His blood.
Gracious greetings to you, and “Shalom” (peace) to fill every crevice of your heart!
Joyful praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Out of His extraordinary kindness, He has given us a brand new Life — with Hope itself as its beating heart — a Life and Hope that spring out of the very grave of Jesus the resurrected Messiah. And He has bequeathed his entire inheritance to you — put it all in your name and placed it under lock and key in His very own storehouse, where it can never decay or get dirty or depreciate in any way. In fact, He has placed you under the same safe-keeping, powerfully shielding you with an unshakable confidence until the day when your ultimate Safe Haven is unveiled on the last page of the story.
I know all this thrills you deeply, even though right now you are being tested in a season of sorrows. These tests serve to authenticate your faith, proving it more valuable than gold (whose gleam is short-lived, even when refined by fire), and leading ultimately to the accolades and applause and adulation that will sound at the curtain call of Jesus the Anointed One. He is the one you are in love with, even though you’ve never seen Him; and even though you can’t see Him now, your trust in Him elates you with a glorious joy words cannot describe and ushers you to the climax of faith: a rescued life!
This rescue was so profound that the ancient prophets who originally foretold the arrival of this gracious gift earnestly probed and peered into its mystery, desperately trying to understand the details and timing that the Spirit of the Messiah was referring to when He gave them advance notice of the sufferings that the Messiah would endure and the glorious stage lights that would follow. The news was broken to them that they were not in this business for their own benefit, but for yours. And now this incredible message has landed on your doorstep, hand-delivered by the Holy Spirit, emissary of Heaven, with the angels themselves kneeling down just trying to get a glimpse of it!
Now then, get your minds suited up for battle and stripped of all distractions. Rest all your hopeful expectations squarely on that gracious gift that is about to be presented to you as soon as Jesus the Anointed One finally steps on stage. As well-mannered children, don’t let your desires become slaves to the fashions you chased after when you didn’t know any better. But the One who beckoned you is flawless in character, so likewise, every aspect of your lifestyle should resemble His — in all its otherworldly purity, because God has engraved this command: “You must be spotless, because I am spotless.” And if you call Him “Father” — this One who inspects everyone’s behavior even-handedly — make sure to make your way along this winding, unfamiliar trail with a healthy sense of fear.
Remember: the ticket that brought you deliverance out of the soul-sucking meaninglessness that stained your entire family line, was paid for, not by paltry little trinkets such as silver or gold, but by the priceless blood of a perfectly innocent lamb — the Messiah. His story had already been authored before the cosmos even existed, but when He finally made His climactic debut, He came for you. And through Him you learned to trust the God who extracted Him out of death and enveloped Him with grandeur, so that the focal point of all your confidence and expectancy might now be fixed exclusively on God.
And now that you have allowed the Truth to invade and control you, disinfecting your very souls, so that genuine camaraderie characterizes your relationships, it is time to stretch out your hearts to a whole new level of sacrificial love for one another.
A brand new Life has burst forth inside of you, sprung not from the seedling of a dying plant but from an immortal one — one spoken into existence by the animating, resonating words of God. Indeed, all mankind is His front lawn, and all our triumphant achievements are the wildflowers of His garden. The grass inevitably dries up and the flowers become compost, but the life-giving voice of the Gardener reverberates perennially.
And this is the voice that proclaimed the Great Announcement to you.