The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the most crucial events of the Christian faith. Both events are united and make our salvation possible. Our hope is not based on our good wishes or expectations but on Christ, who lives forever and who conquered death. Our faith and hope are alive because Jesus lives. The first letter of Peter gives us a masterly summary of our salvation. The first 12 verses help us to have a correct perspective of what God did for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus and how they help us to face at the present time the difficult moments of life.
The apostle Peter begins his letter with a greeting to expatriate believers who were living as foreigners in five regions of Asia Minor. This letter is considered “universal” because it applies to all believers everywhere since all of us live in some way as foreigners in this world by receiving our heavenly citizenship (Phil. 3:20). The salvation that we enjoy is a miraculous gift in which the three persons of the Trinity participate, the Father who chooses us, the Spirit who sanctifies us and the Son who rescues us through his sacrifice on the cross:
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who have been chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood: May grace and peace be yours in abundance (1-2).
Jesus' death in our place forgives us all our sins (Ephesians 1:7). The resurrection of Jesus gives us a living hope that assures us of an inheritance that cannot be destroyed, tarnished or withered. In Jesus we have hope. God shows us his grace and mercy through the death and resurrection of Jesus:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you (3-4).
Our salvation will be manifested or completed in the future and is secured by the power of God. This is possible because our hope is alive because Jesus lives. However, the joy for our salvation does not exempt us from trials or difficult moments. In fact, as Christians, in addition to going through difficult times like everyone else, we also face hard circumstances that test our faith, but when we emerge victorious, they give glory and praise to our God:
who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls (5-9).
The expectation for the coming of the Messiah is a central theme in the Old Testament. Now we can remember Jesus' death in our place and celebrate his resurrection, but the prophets anticipated these future events from afar. In fact, even the angels long to experience the salvation we now enjoy in Jesus:
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry, inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the subsequent glory. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven — things into which angels long to look! (10-12)
This week we remember two central events of our faith. On Good Friday we solemnly remember the death of Jesus in our place and on Resurrection Sunday we celebrate that Jesus lives. Therefore, our salvation, joy and hope are alive. Every day and even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances we may face, our faith stands firm because Jesus lives. We can face present trials with joy because Christ lives and our salvation is secure. Now we can join the apostle Peter and together proclaim, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!