Sermon Study - 1 Peter 3:18-22
“The Risen Christ is the Victorious Sufferer” from 1 Peter 3:18-22. You can listen to the sermon here.
In 1 Peter 3:18-22, we come to the most difficult paragraph in the entire letter of 1 Peter. In fact, 1 Peter 3.18-22 is one of most difficult passages in all of the NT! There is much debate over how to interpret this paragraph. And th3 debate is well-deserved! As you can tell from reading the passage together, there is some hard stuff in these verses! So, as we proceed this morning, let’s do so with humility. Let’s be humble enough to acknowledge publicly and openly our complete need for God’s help in understanding this passage! Now, this should be our attitude every week as we come to the text of Scripture. This is God’s Word, not ours. So, we need his Spirit’s help in interpreting and applying what we read. That’s our mindset every week. But this week, with this difficult text, let’s be especially aware of our humble need for the Spirit’s help.
Even though this passage is hard, it makes an important point. The point of this paragraph is this – Christ suffered in death, but through his resurrection and ascension, he has proclaimed victory over all evil forces. Let me repeat that. Christ suffered in death, but through his resurrection and ascension, he has proclaimed victory over all evil forces. That’s the point of vv18-22. And that means this paragraph has something very encouraging to say to Christians who suffer as well. Because Christ passed through the grave and is now at the Father’s right hand, believers have no reason to fear any suffering they might experience here and now. Instead – and here’s the truly amazing point – believers can be assured of their own victory through the once suffering but now victorious Jesus Christ.
Specifically, there are four encouraging truths about Christ’s victory that encourage suffering Christians:
- Christ also suffered, to bring us to God
- Christ’s resurrection proclaims his victory over all evil powers
- Through Christ’s resurrection, believers have an appeal before God
- The Risen Christ reigns now over all things
For Further Study
Peter uses Christ’s victory in resurrection to encourage suffering Christians. The apostle Paul does something similar in 1 Corinthians 15:12-28 and Romans 5:12-21.
- Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-28. In your own words, paraphrase Pauls’ logic concerning Christ’s resurrection as it relates to believers. What does Christ’s resurrection mean for the believer?
- Read Romans 5:12-21. What does Christ’s resurrection accomplish for the Christian? List those accomplishments.
- Based on those texts, how should Christians be encouraged by Christ’s resurrection? What difference might that make for Christians who experience suffering?
For Personal Reflection
- How does Christ’s victory over suffering give you hope in the midst of suffering? Think specifically about how Christ’s victory applies to your life.
- Spend some time this week in prayer with the particular purpose of praising Christ for his resurrection and victory over the grave. Again, think specifically about how you can praise God for the resurrection of Christ.
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