This week, guest preacher Adam Narciso continued in our study of 1 Peter. Adam and his family were members of City Central’s church body until the Lord called them to ministry in Tennessee. Adam conveyed how Peter is speaking to Christians who are experiencing religious persecution. He focused on verses 19-21, emphasizing what Jesus did on the Saturday in between his burial and resurrection, and what baptism means for the believer.
1 Peter 3:8—22
8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.
- Jesus’ Saturday (vv. 19-20) — What did Jesus do between Friday when he was buried and Sunday when He rose? What happened on Saturday? He descended into hell before He rose and declared His victory. We all experience grief, disappointment, and suffering. We all experience death before the resurrection. This is the picture of the Christian experience: we get to declare the resurrection in seasons of darkness. We get to declare the goodness that is to come.
1 Peter 3: 19—20
19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.
- Who were the spirits Peter is talking about? The below verses offer context. These spirits were angels who sinned against God and were cast into hell.
2 Peter 2:4
4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment
6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
1 When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. 5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
- The Book of Enoch taught that Jesus descended into Hades (the realm of the dead) to proclaim God’s judgment on a special class of fallen angels (cf. Gen. 6:1—6).
- Peter’s teaching indicates that Jesus is a 2nd Enoch, who descended into the realm of the dead to once again proclaim judgment on these fallen angels.
- Our Baptism (vv. 21-22) — Christian baptism is a public pledge of one’s allegiance to Jesus and identification with His death, resurrection and ultimate victory over all evil powers.
1 Peter 3: 21—22
21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal (PLEDGE) to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.
“Baptism is war.” -Dr. Michael Heiser
- How do you typically respond to suffering or disappointment? What is your default response?
- Why is it significant that Jesus descended into hell on the second day?
- What does Jesus’ declaration of victory in death teach us?
- How is baptism an act of war for the believer?
- What would change in your life if you declared victory while in the midst of pain and darkness? Write down your answer and commit to this declaration when suffering comes.
- Have you been baptized? Do you feel convicted to get baptized? Make a plan to do so on our next baptism Sunday!