The reality of Jesus' victory over the powers: the way the church (a local church) changes everything
I am working on and preparing for Sunday's sermon (2/25/18)–one of the hardest passages in the NT, 1 Peter 3:18-22. Nonetheless, there is, in this tough, baffling text, the secret, the mystery for how the early church changed things and how it, with no power or leverage or prestige scared the living day-lights out of Caesars and the Roman empire–and still, today, can change things now . . . here's a preview . . . and some basic, preliminary thoughts . . .
First, let's stick with what is clear from this most enigmatic of NT texts:
And, then, second, this text is good news to the church, to believers in that . . .
It is amazing that this small, embattled church made up of unequals and strangers, should have scared or alarmed anyone, especially those in power. Yet, it did. We, today, are quite harmless–this is perhaps why so many Christian social justice advocates and, as well, Christian conservatives rely on the government (i.e., earthy power) to do justice and enforce (always through some form of violence and/or punishment related actions) justice. I believe our lose of the power God gives his church, his local gathered-church has been lost because we hate the idea of suffering (like Jesus) and so want the acceptance and comfort our earthly powers grants us–as individual believers and as local gathered-churches.
Here is my thought on the significance of this text in 1 Peter. And by "in," I mean in the flow and thought of Peter's Letter to the "elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia" (1:1b):
Chip M. Anderson, advocate for biblical social action; pastor of an urban church plant in the Hill neighborhood of New Haven, CT; husband, father, author, former Greek & NT professor; and, 19 years involved with social action.