We have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place. 2 Peter 1:19
We finish the gospel of John and witness the birth of the church in Acts. We are spending the week in Peter’s Epistles. We will witness King David, inspired and empowered to prepare the work of the temple for His Solomon to build, after his sin of the census and discovery of God’s house at the place of judgment.
John 20 – 21
The resurrection of Jesus is described with great emotional devotional detail, with Mary Magdalene being the first to see Jesus and clinging to him with leaping faith. Thomas, on the other hand, will not believe unless he can see the wounds of the cross and place his fingers and hands there.
In Chapter twenty-one, we have the record of Jesus meeting the disciples at Galilee. It appears Peter is going back into the fishing business with seven others of Jesus’ disciples with the same results. Jesus appears as at the first encounter three and half years prior. In His goodness, fills their boat with fish. There is an honest conversation with Peter after breakfast where Peter must realize that he is not the man he wanted to be. Jesus sends him to feed the lambs and tend the sheep, the perfect solution to misguided greatness. The last words to Peter, and the first words He had spoken, “Follow Me.”
Acts 1 – 4
In our last journey of the year through Acts, this week we will witness the promise of the Holy Spirit, the Ascension of Jesus, and the dedication to prayer culminating with the coming of the Holy Spirit as fire upon their heads and tongues of praise in their mouths. The church is born, and Jesus is declared risen, ascended, and seated at the right hand of God as both Lord and Christ. The path of salvation is clearly given, “Repent, be baptized, remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38. This is again declared in Chapter three, are the same actions but some different words, “Repent, be converted, sins blotted out, and times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19
In Acts four is the first encounter with the Sanhedrin after the miracle. There is great boldness and the declaration that salvation is given in no other name than Jesus! They return to pray and ask for more boldness, using Psalm two as their scripture and the Father sends the Holy Spirit for the power needed.
1 Peter 2 – 5
The mature Peter, not the Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane who took his sword and cut off the servant’s ear, calls us to lay down our lives, to suffer wrong, to bless when cursed, and not think it strange when we endure fiery trials. “Therefore, let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.” 1 Peter 4:19 “But may the God of all grace who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:10, 11
2 Peter 1 – 3
Peter knows his departure (death) is imminent and gives strong words of walking by faith in Chapter one and the strong warnings of the false teachers that are ravaging the church and leading many into error. In Chapter three, Peter addresses the scoffers in the last days who say everything continues as it was from the beginning. They are forgetful. They do not understand the Lord’s longsuffering that leads to salvation and His very heart in all matters. Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:13
2 Chronicles 22 – 29
We enter the twilight years of Judah in this week’s reading. We begin with Ahaziah being made king who reigns for one year and follows the ways of the house of Ahab (a former king of Israel) and follows the advice of his mother Athaliah (who was a daughter of Ahab). In following all these counselors, he goes to battle with the king of Israel, Jehoram, son of Ahab against Assyria and is wounded. While healing from his wounds in Jezreel, he killed along with Jehoram in the zeal of Jehu who had taken the kingdom of Israel and brought vengeance on the house of Ahab and Jezebel. To increase the drama upon the news of Ahaziah’s death, his mother Athaliah kills all the royal heirs of the house of Judah and takes the place of Queen of Judah for six years. One heir, Joash, escapes the slaughter and is rescued by his mother Jehoshabeath who was the sister to Ahaziah. Jehoshabeath was married to Jehoiada the priest, so they hid Joash, the grandson of Ahaziah, the only living heir to the throne in the temple for six years.
At age seven his father Jehoiada, the priest, brings the Levites into covenant and installs Joash as king in the Temple at age seven. This brings the Queen mother into a rage and then her death. Joash reigned for forty years in Jerusalem and did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest.
Okay. This could be a Hollywood movie, and I only share the first seven years of this drama. In our reading, we will cover seven kings and the Queen mother’s reigns up to Hezekiah’s first year as king. This covers one hundred and forty-five years of Judah’s history. It’s filled with these stories of atrocities and moments of sincere service. At the beginning of each king’s reign, the length of reigning will be stated and whether they did what was right in the sight of the Lord or not, after that follows details.
Everything depends on, how God sees us! May we gain a heart of wisdom and the fear of the Lord through our readings this week.