Peter: An Apostle of Jesus Christ
To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
—1 Peter 1:1, 2 (NIV
The Apostle Peter, leader of the twelve disciples throughout the ministry of Jesus Christ, addresses his first letter to the chosen people of God who were called to eternal salvation through believing faith in the resurrected and ascended Son of God. The places that Peter names are all located in the modern nation of Turkey. Two thousand years ago, this region contained a number of provinces that were part of the Roman Empire.
Several of these provinces are mentioned in Acts 2:9, 10, and many visitors from this region came to the Jerusalem Temple on the Day of Pentecost. They may have personally witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in their own languages and heard the preaching of Peter. When severe persecution arose, these new believers returned home with the burning message of a loving God the Father who willingly sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross to redeem sinful men and women.
However, the death of Jesus on the cross is not the end of the story. God raised Jesus from the dead as was spoken by the prophets long ago. Triumphant in His victory over sin and the devil, Jesus ascended into Heaven to sit in a position of authority at the right hand of God. Then, as promised in John 16:6–16, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to purify the hearts of all who believe in the Son of God and help them to be obedient to his commands.
In the time of Moses, the blood of unblemished animals was sprinkled on the newly dedicated Tabernacle. Aaron and his sons served as Priests in the House of God and all of the articles that were to be used to worship the Lord. In Exodus 24:8, Moses also sprinkled blood on the people of Israel in order to cleanse them of their sins. Peter described those who place their faith in Jesus Christ as being sprinkled by the shed blood of the Son of God. It is by this shed blood of Jesus that sinful men and women can be considered holy and righteous before God.
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