For me, every vacation presents me with a critical decision: the choice of what book to read while I’m away. I make this decision carefully every year. At times, I will even wait to read a certain book until I’m away on vacation, so that I can derive the maximum enjoyment from it.
One year, a few weeks before our family vacation, I happened to read an interview with the author of a book about a topic that held no interest for me. To my surprise, the interview with the author sparked an appetite for this book. So I purchased the book cautiously and I was prepared to abandon it quickly if it didn’t maintain my interest. I would give it no more than 50 pages. As I opened the book my eyes fell upon the opening paragraph and I read:
“In 1938, near the end of a decade of monumental turmoil, the year’s number-one newsmaker was not Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Hitler, or Mussolini. It wasn’t Pope Pius XI, nor was it Lou Gehrig, Howard Hughes, or Clark Cable. The subject of the most newspaper column inches in 1938 wasn’t even a person. It was an undersized, crooked-legged racehorse named Seabiscuit.”
By the conclusion of that paragraph I was so captivated by this story that I couldn’t put down the book. The book was Seabiscuit; An American Legend, authored by Laura Hillenbrand, who would go on to write Unbroken. But it was the interview with the author that created an interest in a book I would have otherwise ignored.
This past Sunday we began our study of the first letter of Peter. This little book is a gem, but not usually on the short list of books of the Bible people cite as among their favorites. In fact, in his commentary on 1 Peter, Peter Davids writes:
“First Peter is a significant work of NT theology and pastoral care. Unfortunately, it has frequently been neglected by the church…”
If you’ve been numbered among those who have neglected this letter, perhaps it would create a fresh interest in the letter if I introduced you to the author of the letter. It is my hope that meeting the author will only increase your appetite to study his letter. And only by meeting the author can we understand what inspired him to write this letter and what experiences inform every word of this letter, affecting how we read and understand this letter. For this letter was shaped by the author’s life-transforming encounter with, experience of, and love for his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Peter describes himself in his two letters as:
“a witness of the sufferings of Christ…” in 1 Peter 5:1
He was there in Gethsemane. And in 2 Peter he describes himself as:
“an eyewitness of his majesty.” 2 Peter 1:16
He witnessed the glory of Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration and after the resurrection. And in his letters he explains that he has written what he has seen and heard so that:
We might “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18
So allow me to introduce you to the author of this letter. What a privilege it is for us to be taught by him. And from him we will learn about the one:
Who “bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24