Christ Suffered to Bring You to God
Read 1 Peter 3:17–22
For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits—to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
This passage is one of the most confusing and debated sections of Scripture in all of the New Testament. Different interpretations have arisen over time, but the bottom line is that we really don’t know where Jesus went, what He said in His proclamation, and who the “imprisoned spirits” really were. We could study this passage for months and years and not reach a clear understanding. So, what can we take from this passage today that is encouraging or inspiring to our faith? Jesus suffered for the sins of every one of us—those deemed righteous, those deemed unrighteous—in order to bring us into relationship with God. How exactly this worked is mysterious, but we know He suffered and we know that suffering was unjust.
- What do you want to say to God in response to the truth that Jesus suffered for your sin to bring you into relationship with God?
- Reflect on a situation occurring in our world today in which a person or group of people are suffering unjustly. How might you pray for that person or group?
- What is God seeking to draw your attention to through today’s passage?
God, thank You. What more can I really say? Thank You for Your grace and for the suffering of Jesus that resulted in my rescued and brought into relationship with You. There was no way for me to rescue myself; You drew me close, invited me in, and forgave me. Open my eyes to those who are suffering and show me how I can join what You’re doing to relieve that suffering. I pray that You would allow those who are suffering to know Your presence and Your love. Amen.