Life-Study of 1 Peterby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 2:18-25 we have five important matters, five aspects of Christ: grace, the model, the Savior, the Shepherd, and the Overseer. Christ is the grace within us, and He is the model for our spiritual direction. Furthermore, Christ is also our Savior, Shepherd, and Overseer. He saves us, He shepherds us, and He cares for us, thus accomplishing a threefold work concerning us. We all need this gracious, threefold work of Christ for us. We need His saving, shepherding, and overseeing.
Peter did not write this Epistle merely according to the knowledge of doctrine, but according to his rich experiences of Christ. Peter experienced Christ as grace, as the model, and as the Savior, Shepherd, and Overseer. He experienced the motivation of the divine life within him and its expression in his living becoming something gracious and acceptable in the sight of both God and man. As we have pointed out, when others see such an expression in our living, they may say, “This is grace. This is something worthy of thanksgiving to God.”
In 2:21 Peter says, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered on your behalf, leaving you a model that you should follow in His steps.” The very Christ who is the grace within us has become a model, a master copy, the original copy, to be used in the process of spiritual xeroxing. As we have pointed out, through this process, we become a reproduction of Christ.
In 2:24 we have a picture of Christ as our Savior, and in verse 25 Peter says, “For you were as sheep being led astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” Christ died to sins so that we might live to righteousness, that is, live rightly under the government of God. Furthermore, through Christ’s bruise, a suffering that resulted in death, we have been healed of our death, so that we may live in His resurrection.
Now we have Christ as the Shepherd and Overseer caring for our souls. Christ’s shepherding does not mainly take care of our body or our spirit; it primarily takes care of our soul. However, as the Shepherd and Overseer, Christ takes care of us from within our spirit. He does not shepherd us or oversee us from the heavens. Today our Shepherd and Overseer is in our spirit, indwelling us as the life-giving Spirit. His shepherding and overseeing begin from our spirit and then spread to every part of our soul. This means that from our spirit Christ reaches the parts of our soul—the mind, emotion, and will—and takes care of all our problems, needs, and wounds. How wonderful! This is our Christ!
In this message we come to 1 Peter chapter three, one of the most difficult chapters in the entire Bible. What makes this chapter difficult to understand is Peter’s word concerning Christ making a proclamation to the spirits in prison (vv. 19-20) and his word concerning baptism (vv. 20-21). Throughout the centuries, there has been much debate over what Peter says in this chapter concerning these two matters. The debate continues to this day, for it seems that the problems of interpretation have not been solved. Furthermore, both matters are very deep.
In 3:19 and 20 Peter tells us something about Christ’s death that Paul does not cover in his writings. We know that Paul has much to say regarding the all-inclusive death of Christ. But there is at least one aspect of Christ’s death that Paul does not cover in his Epistles. This does not mean that Paul did not know of this aspect. I would not presume to say this of Paul, for he received a complete, universal revelation. He knew the things on earth, and according to 2 Corinthians 12, he was taken to the third heaven and also to Hades, to Paradise. Therefore, Paul had a full view of the three sections of the universe—heaven, earth, and the region under the earth. But for some reason he does not mention in his writings the matter of Christ’s making a proclamation to the spirits in prison.
In his Epistles Paul also has a good deal of teaching concerning baptism. Nevertheless, in 3:20-21 we have an excellent word by Peter concerning baptism, a word that cannot be found in the Epistles of Paul.
In a forthcoming message we shall study what Peter says regarding Christ’s making a proclamation to the spirits in prison and what he says regarding baptism. That message will be a real landmark in the Life-study of 1 Peter. In this message and in the message immediately following we shall consider 3:1-13.
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