Friday, 29 November 2019
…who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him. 1 Peter 3:22
Peter has been speaking of suffering as Christ did, and yet maintaining a “good conscience” towards God in the process (see verses 3:16 & 3:21). It is seen that Noah preached faithfully to those of the world who are now in prison (meaning now consigned to their fate in the prison of death). His words fell on deaf ears because when the time for the flood came, the Lord only saved him, his wife, his three sons, and their three wives.
All of the rest of the world was destroyed in the flood. Noah’s time of suffering for the gospel (the anticipation of Messiah and the life that should be lived in accord with that promise) was rewarded with life. That is what our “good conscience” towards God is being equated to. Peter finished the previous verse with the thought that this is certain, and it is “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Noah was carried through the purging waters. The same waters that brought death to the world could not harm him. Likewise, the suffering we can expect cannot overcome us because Christ has already gone before us and prevailed. The resurrection proves this to us. Peter’s thoughts have been focused on one overarching thought all the way through, even since verse 11 of the previous chapter.
There, he wrote about being spoken against as evildoers. After that, he wrote about submission to those around us – governments, masters, wives, husbands, and one another. He then went into greater detail concerning suffering for righteousness sake. All of this time, the same main thought has been conveyed – we are to accept suffering when it means keeping a “good conscience” towards God. Whatever happens here is subservient to that thought because Christ has already prevailed over this world.
It is through His resurrection that we have this surety. And based on His resurrection there is now a new order of things – even if in this earth it continues to seem otherwise. Our hope is not in this world, and our suffering will have an end. In the meantime, there is a purpose for it. And it does not go unnoticed by the Lord “who has gone into heaven.”
Christ didn’t just resurrect, but He also ascended. He was found approved by God, raised, and then exalted to heaven itself. Peter then says that, there in heaven Christ, “is at the right hand of God.” As always, this is not speaking of a physical location, as if God has a hand. Rather, the right hand signifies the position of authority, power, and rule. In other words, Christ is given all authority, all power, and complete rule of all things.
There in heaven, even “angels and authorities and powers have been made subject to Him.” All of that which is created, even the non-tangible things such as angels (which are spirits), and powers are in subjection to Christ.
Peter’s words concerning this authority are intended to remind his reader that their current state, whether being spoken against as evildoers, being mistreated by a master, being unloved by a husband, suffering harm while doing good, or for any other reason, is not out of the control or notice of Christ Jesus. If our conscience is good towards God, meaning if we are right with Christ, nothing that can happen can harm us. Even if the entire world is flooded with water and all life on it is purged, we will be safely carried through the deluge.
With this in mind, Peter will begin Chapter 4 with a continued explanation of how we can apply the example of Christ’s sufferings to our own lives. But without showing us that Christ has prevailed over all of these things, asking people who are already suffering to be willing to continue suffering would be a big pill to swallow.
Life application: The resurrection of Jesus means that He had prevailed over death. Now He has ascended to heaven and is at the right hand of God.
Peter confirms what Jesus said in Matthew 28:18 when He proclaimed, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Peter details this authority as being over angels and authorities and powers. This is a way of saying, “everything.” All authority at every level is subject to the rule of Jesus.
When nations descend into turmoil and chaos seems to be the only result of what’s going on around us; when news services can’t discern what will happen next and they speculate over the fate of gas prices, economies, or people groups; when leaders fall and other more wicked leaders rise to power – all of these things are already known to God and are under the complete control of Jesus.
If you are stressing over current conditions in the world, if your investments seem to be precariously close to disappearing, or if you can’t find an intelligent soul to ease your mind over the turmoil, then remember to simply trust in Jesus and His perfect plan. Either He is in control and Lord over all, or He’s not. If you claim He is, then be at peace. Things are perfect and coming to their completion. He sends you shalom from the right hand of God on high.
Whew! Just when we think the world is coming unglued, we can turn back to Your word and remember that everything is happening just as it should. Israel will be safe, God’s people – the church – will be raptured, and eternity is going to be perfect. What worry should we have? None! Praise be to God…no worries at all. Amen.