3All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
6So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 1 Peter 1:3-6
Peter knew what it was to cave under pressure. He knew how weakness had given way to dread. He knew how the shame of failure could have become a weight dragging him back from freedom in His relationship with Jesus and from leadership among Jesus’ people.
But Peter also knew the healing, restorative work of Jesus in His life. So Peter writes to the church celebrating God’s mercy that gives us new birth! He says, “Now we live with great expectation.” We look forward to our inheritance: the full unveiled experience of Jesus and His Kingdom. Even as we endure pressure and struggle, we are drawn forward by faith. “There is wonderful joy ahead!”
This is how faith works. Even when others don’t see who we are. Even when other do not share the hope we have in Christ. And even when they may even be puzzled by what Peter later calls “our good behaviour in Christ,” we persist because there is a day coming when what we are will be revealed “for all to see.”
“Now we live with great expectation.”
“There is wonderful joy ahead!”
If a single mustard seed was sitting on the table you would miss it. However, you won’t miss the big shrub growing in your garden. The parable of the mustard seed in Mark 4 conditions us as followers of Jesus to quit underestimating the impact of the Kingdom of God as its announced and displayed in the context of our usual relationships.
30 And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth,32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” Mark 4:30-32
- This big shrub was not a usual garden plant. However, Jesus has it planted in the frequently visited place — the garden. So it is with the Kingdom of God, when we proclaim the Kingdom through the Gospel of Jesus, it is to be in the normal pathways of our lives. Our relationships in the normal patterns of study, work, life, and play become our “garden” for the Kingdom of God. Quit diminishing the value of your normal and usual relationships.
- The seed contains immense potential. Although the seed is not the focus of this parable it is important to note that the big “change” that is the focus of the parable starts with the seed. Mark 4 has conditioned the followers of Jesus to view the seed as the Word of God — the word of the Gospel and the Kingdom of Jesus. The Gospel story of Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection has a power of its own to bring change in the lives of people. Quit diminishing the value of the Gospel.
- The growth of the Kingdom is not only for our benefit. Jesus describes the impact of the seed’s great growth as the creation of a refuge for the birds of the air. Jesus may be drawing an allusion to the birds of the air references in Ezekiel and Daniel. The nations shall take refuge in the Kingdom of Jesus. We don’t get to choose who we are nesting beside. By design others are to benefit from the change occurring in the lives of those who take refuge in Christ. Quit diminishing the Kingdom call for open engagement with people who are “not like you;” then, we will experience the blessings of the Kingdom of God together.