“[Christ] was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God”
1 Peter 1:18–21 (ESV)
There’s a reason why superhero movies are so popular. There’s a certain appeal to a long-awaited hero who steps in and saves the day. This kind of story tugs at a very natural human need: Someone to step in and make things right. Well, in our section today, we meet One who is greater than all the fictional superheroes. Emmanuel, God with us. Jesus Christ, the God-man, the second person of the Trinity. He stepped in and everything changed.
In the preceding verses, these believers were called to live a holy life because God Himself is holy, and because they had been ransomed from their sinful ways with the precious blood of Christ. In today’s verses, we are introduced to this great Conqueror, the One who offered the ultimate sacrifice which made it possible for these believers to place their faith and hope in God.
Notice a few things about this Hero: He was foreknown, He was manifested, He was raised, and He was given glory. We shall briefly explore each of these statements to see His manifold majesty.
He was foreknown before the foundation of the world. It was always God’s plan to save a people for Himself through Christ. He revealed this at first as He was speaking to Eve in Genesis 3:15, when He singled out one male offspring who would crush the head of the serpent. This promise was developed through Abraham and proclaimed by the prophets as Peter had written in verse 10 of this first chapter. He was always the great hope for mankind. The One who would redeem His people from their sin. His coming was very eagerly awaited by those who believed in God’s promise of salvation.
He was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God. After a long period of waiting, and searching out by prophets (again, see verse 10-12 of this first chapter), Jesus was finally made manifest. Through a miraculous virgin birth came God in the flesh. The Author of life in the manger. The King of the universe held as a baby. This at last was the One we had been waiting for. His name is Jesus, for He was to redeem His people from their sin. He lived a perfect life, tempted in every way and yet found to be without sin. But...He was killed. Crucified on a Roman cross. The lowest form of death reserved for the vilest offenders. The Author of life cried “It is finished!” and breathed His last! And all for the sake of those who would believe in Him. But, this was not the end of the story.
[God] raised Him from the dead! Now that’s a statement to stop you in your tracks. In life, and even in the movies, death is the great equalizer. It claims the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak, and both men and women. It had entered the ring with billions of people and its record stood at something like 1,000,000,000,000,000 - 0. That was until Christ stepped into the ring with it! Sin, death and the powers of hell swung with all their might and landed a clean blow on Christ when He died. But they celebrated too early. After three days, the Conqueror rose from the dead, literally folded His death-robes and walked out of the grave! Jesus died, this is true, but Jesus rose, and there isn’t a single piece of news that deserves greater attention!
[God] gave Him glory. Jesus prayed in John 17:5 and the Father fulfilled this by glorifying Him with the glory He had with Him before the world existed. After the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead, He ascended in victory back to heaven. The image of Him sitting at the right hand of God is a powerful depiction of His victorious reign. And the glorious promise stands, that He shall return to gather all those who believe in Him and are saved from their sins.
It is on account of this great, all conquering King that our faith and hope are in God. If you have not believed in Him, you will simply be another victim of death, awaiting judgment from the holy God. But if you turn to Him in repentance and faith, you shall have life in Him. He is definitely worthy of all our faith and trust. He deserves the love and loyalty of all He has redeemed. Praise be to His glorious name!
Do you take enough time to reflect on the beauty of Christ and what He has achieved for you in His life, death, resurrection, and victorious reign?