“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 2 Peter 1:1, ESV, emphasis added
What wonderful, miraculous truth you reveal to your people in the opening of 2 Peter 1! How especially healing, encouraging, and refreshing these words are for youth workers who find themselves feeling unwanted, unloved, or unapproved.
Youth ministers whose input is never sought by other church leaders – who are never invited to attend the church’s “important” meetings – and who feel like they’ve been relegated to serving as “babysitters” or “entertainment directors.”
Youth ministers who crave affirmation and validation, but who instead are asked, “When do you plan to become a real pastor?” or, “What do you do for your actual job?”
Youth ministers who feel as if they’ve survived the name-calling, bullying, and constant comparison of their own Middle-School and High-School years, only to be thrown back into the fray as adults.
To folks like us, Lord Jesus, you’ve given this apothecary of healing grace in 2 Peter 1:1: through the righteousness which you’ve put forth on our behalf, we have obtained a faith of equal standing to that of your Apostles – great men of faith like Simon Peter.
How can this be?
It is so, Lord Jesus, because the life you lived on Peter’s behalf was also lived on our behalf. It was no more perfectly righteous for Peter than it was for us. It was no less free of sin for us than it was for him.
It is so, Lord Jesus, because the crucifixion you endured on Peter’s behalf was also endured for the sake of folks like us. The atonement you have wrought is just as much for us as it was for him. For Peter and for us, your death could not possibly have had a greater impact on removing the guilt and condemnation of our sin.
It is so, Lord Jesus, because the tomb in which you were buried remains empty! You rose from the grave – not only for Peter, but also for us. And to both Peter and to us, the invitation to share your resurrection life could not possibly be more abundant – more miraculous – more eternal.
We have a “faith of equal standing” because the transformational gospel work you have (and continue to) accomplish in our hearts is cut from the same cloth as the work you did in Peter’s heart. Your ministry is just as much for us as it was for him. Your perfect righteousness covers us to the same degree as it covered him.
Which means, Lord Jesus…
We could not possibly be more accepted than we already are in you – whether or not we receive validation from our supervisors or from our students. Standing in our place, you were despised and rejected by men (Isaiah 53:3) in order that the Father’s acceptance might never depart from us.
We could not possibly be more affirmed than we already are through you. We matter to you – though that reality has nothing to do with our job titles or ministry responsibilities. All anyone can offer you is the cry of the Tax Collector in Luke 18:13: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” Yet like him, as we humble ourselves before you, we enjoy your acceptance and your justification of our lives.
Your affection for us could not possibly be greater than it already is – regardless of whether or not we are “loved” by the students we serve. Because you are in us, and because we are in you, the same love which the Father has lavished upon you is ours forever (John 17:26).
Lord Jesus – thank you for this salvation you’ve provided to folks like us. Thank you for the “faith of equal standing” that is ours through your perfect righteousness.