Summary: First-person type narrative (Simon Peter's perspective, no acting or costumes needed) exploring: Why did Jesus die? What did He do while He was dead? What is He doing now that He is alive?
RIGHTEOUS FOR THE UNRIGHTEOUS
Simon Peter walked through the streets of Jerusalem with purpose. He had a place to get to and not a lot of time to get there. It had been his suggestion that the believers meet in the temple courts daily to pray, listen to reflections about Jesus, and to reach out to the poor. It had been his suggestion and he had already been late once. He laughed. Jesus had never been late and had never wasted one moment while He was with them.
Simon Peter rounded a corner and could see the temple gates ahead of him. His paced slowed a little as his goal was in sight. He was sure the others had already gathered. Peter started up the steps of the outer courts and suddenly a young man of about twenty stepped in his path.
“Forgive me,” Peter said, “I am lost in my thoughts.”
“I would like to speak with you,” the young man said. “I have some questions about Jesus of Nazareth. Do you have time to speak with me?”
Clearly the young man had been waiting for him and stepped in his path on purpose. Peter looked past the young man into the temple courts. They would all be waiting. He looked back at the young man and realized that Almighty God had already set his appointment for the day and it was the young man standing in front of him.
“I do. Let us sit.”
Simon Peter and the young man made their way to a seating area and the young man started to describe himself to Peter. He shared how he had heard the story about Jesus of Nazareth and His death. He had heard about His followers and the Way that was growing up around His teachings. “I even stopped by last week and listened to the teachings you all shared in the temple court. I think the man said his name was Andrew and he explained all about Jesus of Nazareth. I still have some questions.”
“Well,” Simon Peter responded, “I walked and talked with Jesus and so there is no better person to help answer your questions. I will prayerfully answer your questions as God gives me wisdom and discernment.”
“I have three questions based on what I heard. My first question is, ‘Why did Jesus die?’ My second question is ‘What did Jesus do while He was dead?’ My third question is ‘What did Jesus do now that He is alive?’”
Peter’s eyes grew large. All three of those were great questions. Peter looked with compassion on this young man. He wanted to answer with gentleness and respect. “Those are most excellent questions. The fact that you are asking them tells me that God is drawing your heart to Jesus. Well, let’s take each question in turn and I will answer as best I can. Those are great questions and I can imagine writing the answers down for others who have the same questions in the future.”
I. WHY DID JESUS DIE? (VERSE 18a)
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.