Thursday

12 November 2015

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (v. 9)

Psalm: Psalm 123


Background

In verse 1 Peter is clear about what holiness is not: malice, guile, insincerity, envy and slander; and in verse 2 he tells us that we should desire "pure, spiritual milk" like newborn babies. It would seem that the question of our desires depends on what it is that we desire. The purpose of this is to grow in salvation or in other words to become holy. But what is this spiritual milk? We may assume it is the teaching and truth of the gospel message.

This section is full of metaphor and in verse 4 the imagery changes again to stones and a house. Peter is drawing on Psalm 118:22, Isaiah 28:16 and Isaiah 8:14 all of which point towards the fact that Christ was chosen by God but rejected by his people. But despite the fact that Jesus suffered and died, he rose again; an idea that is perhaps given greater meaning by the imagery of a lifelessness stone that has been brought to life. But the invitation is for the readers to become a living stone with Christ and to let ourselves be built into this new house of God.

Within this Peter uses a further image, moving away from a physical house towards the idea of a house as a group of people. This house of God is occupied by people who are described as a holy priesthood in verse 5 and a royal priesthood in verse 9. We may not be part of the House of Windsor but we are part of God's household and have a status that is both royal and priestly. We may not have been born into this family as Princess Charlotte was born into the Royal Family but we have been adopted, or to use the phrase often used by adoptive parents, we have been chosen.


To Ponder

  • What difference does the idea of being part of a royal priesthood make to how you live your life today?


Bible notes author: The Revd Jonathan Mead

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