Summary: The three questions that arise from this passage are, Where did Christ go? To whom did Christ go? and What does Christ proclaim to them?
A Study of the Book of 1st Peter
Finding Hope In Our Lives
Sermon # 10
“What Jesus Did For You”
Most of the Bible is easy to understand. But as you preach through the Bible you will at times come upon those “problem verses,” those verses that are not so easy to under-stand. We do not have to solve all the problems found in this passage but we do want to get the practical help that Peter gave to encourage Christians in difficult days.
You will remember that Peter is writing to the suffering church and how in verse seventeen he turned his attention to the challenge of suffering for doing good. But first he commented on suffering on the account of our sin. This is the kind of suffering that comes in to our lives simply because we have missed the mark with our lives. This kind of suffering is simply the logical consequence of sin. It is an example of the principle of cause and effect, a biblical example of the law of reaping what we have sown (Gal 6:7-8). Unfortunately we have experienced that kind of suffering in our lives! The solution to that kind of suffering is simple, repent and receive forgiveness. Suffering for doing good seems to be a much greater challenge in most of our lives than suffering for evil.
Many Christians in the modern day United States do not realize that suffering simply for being a believer is the norm for Christians in many if not most of the rest of the world! There are still people around the world who die for their faith even in our modern age.
In verse eighteen Peter takes the reader back to remind them of “What Jesus did for you!”
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit, (19) By whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, (20) who formerly were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the Ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls were saved through water. (21) There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ: (22) Who has gone into heaven, and is at the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject to Him.”
Although the passage before us today contains one of the most difficult passages in the New Testament, it begins with something that anyone can understand. Verse eighteen says, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit.”
Peter tells three things that Christ did for each of us.
First, Jesus Died for Your Sins (3:18)
About his death we are told:
•His death was unique (once for all time)
“For Christ also suffered once for sins…”
Peter lays out that the work of Christ was unique and need never be repeated. The Temple sacrifices had to be repeated on a daily basis. But Christ made the perfect sacrifice, one and for all time when he offered himself as the sacrifice for sin (Heb 7:27).
•His death was sacrificial
Peter says, He died “for sins” but He did not die for his own sins for He had none, He died for our sins.
•His death was substitutionary
His death was “the just for the unjust.”
He took our place, he borne our shame. He paid the price for all our sin. Let me illustrate this way “Let’s suppose that you have cancer, and your cancer is so far progressed that the doctors have told you there is no hope. All methods of treatment have been exhausted. There is nothing else they can do. Without a miracle, you will die. So I come to you and say, “I’d like to help you out. I want to take every single one of your cancer cells out of your body and put them in my body.” You look at me with a mixture of puzzlement and incredible joy. The very thing that is killing you is about to be removed from your body. After you say that to the person, you then ask this question, “If that were possible, what would happen to me and what would happen to you?” The answer is, “I would die and you would live.” Why? Because I took the thing that was causing your death and placed it on myself, and I died as your substitute.” [Ray Pritchard. “The Triumphant Christ.” Strangers in a Strange Land--I Peter - www.keepbelieving.com/sermon/2005-03-13-The-Triumphant-Christ/]