Peter, sent out and commissioned [as an apostle] by Jesus Christ, to those emigrants now dispersed throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, [together with whom we are] specially chosen by the executive decision of God our Father for a Holy Spirited anointing in a life of full allegiance with the sprinkled blood of Jesus Christ upon us. May grace and peace in overflowing measure be poured out upon you.
For many of us the writing of letters is not an important means of communication. But as we read Peter's two New Testament letters we will find ourselves reconsidering the mundane task of letter-writing. Since we don't have too many other examples of letter-writing from Peter's time at our disposal, we won't be too concerned about whether he was a better-than-average letter writer. But we can read these letters to compare them with what we might send out were we in our time to take up our pen and compose a letter. Clearly, these letters were intended to stir those who would receive them. Peter reminds his readers of matters they cannot afford to forget! There is urgency with them. Peter was one of Jesus' apostles. He was sent out on a commission with an evangel, a declaration of good news. That is what the word apostle means. And now, these letters were sent out by him as part of that commission; they are the apostle's posts.
We can develop a profile of Peter from the Gospels and Acts. He was a fisherman; energetic; impetuous; volatile; teachable. We also have Paul's account of their confrontation over the duplicitous demand that all believers submit to the Jewish rite of circumcision. For some, this was the necessary pre-entry card before joining the fellowship of those following Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, the resurrected Son of God ruling at God's Right Hand. What this meant for a woman's membership among the fellowship of the faithful is not hard to guess, but despite the fact that Peter reckoned that Paul in his letters
… makes some points which prove hard to grasp (II Peter, 3:16),
Peter was obviously put right by Paul's admonition. Paul's letter to the Galatians, as much as John's Gospel, bear eloquent testimony to the unity that prevailed between Peter and Paul and among the earliest Christians. They were believers who were served by these apostles or ambassadors or emissaries of their Lord. Peter was one of a group of New Testament letter writers who royally proclaimed that
… a holy spirited commissioning has come upon us from the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.
So what does this letter tell us about this Peter-person, the kind of fellow he was, the person he was called to be? This opening signature is noteworthy in confirming to us that Peter was bound to those to whom he was writing as their servant. The Apostle's post was sent out, like the sower's seed, as a work of God. Just as Peter had been sent by His Lord, so now this letter was sent out. This is the letter of an emissary, chosen by God's own "executive decision" (there is no getting around it, nor any getting behind it), who writes to those who are likewise "sprinkled by the blood of Christ Jesus", participating in a Holy Spirited commissioning, of grace and peace poured out upon humankind,.
The Lamb of God was slain. The term sprinkled signifies the blood's peace-bringing qualities. It is an allusion to the blood of the atonement by which guilt was purged.
Disciples of a butchered rabbi, bent on proclaiming his martyrdom, and presuming to wield divine vengeance, would not proclaim grace and peace. They might proclaim the "splattered blood", highlighting the violence done to their leader. We, who are privileged to read the Gospel accounts, recall how Malchus's ear was swiped by Peter's sword, before Jesus' healing hand intervened and Peter's weapon was sheathed.
So, clearly, this letter is from one who not only desired to maintain the overflowing supply of grace and peace, but he was glad to have been sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ.