Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
1 Peter 1:1-2, NIV*
So begins the Apostle Peter’s first letter to the early Christians. What catches my attention is his use of the words “strangers” and “scattered” — I don’t know if they’d been intentionally scattered by persecution as some were, or if Peter is just talking about how the believers are few and far between.
Whatever the reason, telling them there are other Christ-followers spread through the area reminds them they’re part of a larger group. They’re not as alone as they may feel.
I think that’s why he calls them “God’s elect” too — it’s not a snooty term for “better than the others,” it reminds them they’ve been chosen by God and belong to Him. He loves them.
Living in obedience to Jesus Christ can make us feel like we don’t belong. In a sense, we don’t. We’re changing, and while we pray those around us will recognize that God has also chosen them, for now we’re the oddballs, the aliens. But that’s okay.
Our hearts need acceptance, but the world around us is not the place to expect to find it. Peter reminds us we’ve found acceptance in Jesus. We belong.
Father, thank You for choosing us, for knowing and loving us before we came to You. Thank You that Jesus came, God in the flesh, to heal the broken. Everyone is broken somehow, Lord, and you’re not willing that any should perish. Help each one recognize that You’ve chosen them too. Help them come into Your healing embrace.