Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1Pet 1:8-9
Peter is writing in the context of his previous exhortation to endure trials that test the genuineness of our faith. “Tested Faith is genuine faith”. Tested faith is evidence of belief apart from which we can not be saved. Mark 16:16 Some of our most profound experiences with joy arise after we endure the testing of our faith and we behold more clearly and fully that we truly are IN HIM. Eph 2:1-7. It is a clear and present joy that verifies,
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Cor 5:17
The joy of encountering the manifest presence of God on the proverbial mount of transfiguration during worship and other encounters is an important part of the Christian walk. Mat 17 The joy of passing the test in the valley is another. God reveals Himself on the mountaintop and we rejoice. Meanwhile, our character is revealed in the valley. Character produces hope. Rom 5:1-11
“…joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,” is chará – cheerfulness, calm delight:–gladness, fulness of joy.
In my mind “calm delight” implies a deep fearless, assurance of His salvation that is rooted and grounded in His love despite circumstances. Eph 3:17. This is the eternal perspective that sets our minds on things about not below. Col 3:1-4
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. 1 Pet 1:10-12
The Old Testament Maranatha prophecies about Jesus are so very clear in retrospect.
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14
Maranatha 1 Cor 16:22 is usually translated as “Come Lord Jesus”. Yet Maranatha is an Aramaic word with a twofold meaning.
Jesus has come. Jesus is coming.
We walk in joy each day that is rooted in assurance. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, Eph 1:13 This is the first Maranatha, the fulfilled gospel of salvation about which the prophets searched and inquired carefully.
The second part is prophetic and refers to the fulfillment of the Gospel of the Kingdom. …the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Eph 1:14
We spoke a lot about our full inheritance when we studied the book of Ephesians. As good as the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit is in our lives is now, it is a downpayment- a taste of what is to come when the second half of Maranatha is fulfilled.
Still, I wonder what went through the mind of Isaiah as he wrote the script for the first part of Maranatha 700 years before it took place. Isaiah 53 Did David know he was quoting Jesus nearly 2500 years before He was crucified?
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? Psalm 22:1
There are at least 350 prophetic references to Jesus in the Old Testament that connect perfectly now that we have the whole canon of scripture. We can rest in the assurance that the Gospel of the Kingdom will be fulfilled because we now see the intricacy of the fulfilled promise of the Gospel of Salvation.
But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. Mat 13:16-17
1 Peter is framed in the context of our faith being tested and found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Pet 1:7 As I said there is a unique experience of joy that attends our passing the test in the valley. Similarly the joy we experience in the valley here is but a taste of the joy that is to come when our tested and genuine faith is found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Let’s face it. Most of life is lived apart from the mountaintop experiences that so many covet and roam from conference to conference in search of the Shekinah Glory. However, there are times when we may feel we are drowning in grief and suffering. We may wonder if God has abandoned us. We can take comfort in the fact that even Jesus had the experience of feeling abandoned by the Father. He wasn’t of course. It is for this reason that Paul instructed us to …rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and be constant in prayer. Rom 12:12 We rejoice in hope while waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13, Mat 24:29-31.
We rejoice in the reality that Jesus has come and experience joy because He is here directing our paths. Prov 3:5-8. We also rejoice in the fact that Jesus is coming...for the he Joy of the Lord is our strength. Neh 8:10 The prophetic nature of Maranatha joy is even more poignant if you understand the eschatological significance of the Feast of Booths. And while many do their best to imagine streets paved with gold and eternal life devoid of pain and tears, what lies ahead is beyond our wildest dreams.