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Only a Gypsy Boy

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession. 1 Peter 2:9

“Oh, it’s only a gypsy boy,” someone whispered with disgust when Rodney Smith walked to the front of the chapel to receive Christ during a service in 1877. Nobody thought much of this teenager, the son of uneducated gypsy parents. Yet, Rodney didn’t listen to those voices. He was certain that God had a purpose for his life so he bought himself a Bible and an English dictionary and taught himself how to read and write. He once said, “The way to Jesus is not by Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, or the poets. It is . . . an old-fashioned hill called Calvary.” Against all odds, Rodney became an evangelist who God used to bring many to Jesus in the UK and US.

Peter too was just a simple man—untrained in the religious rabbinic schools (Acts 4:13), a fisherman from Galilee—when Jesus called him with two simple words: “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19). Yet the same Peter, despite his upbringing and the failures he experienced along the way, later affirmed that those who follow Jesus are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” (1 Peter 2:9).

Through Jesus Christ all people—whatever their education, upbringing, gender, or ethnicity—can be a part of the family of God and be used by Him. Becoming God’s “special possession” is for all who believe in Jesus.

What does it mean for you to be part of a chosen people, a royal priesthood, God’s special possession? How are you encouraged by the fact that God can use you for His honor?

God, I thank You that my identity is found in You.


Peter’s writing in the New Testament demonstrated his familiarity with the Scriptures (what we know as our Old Testament). In 1 Peter 2 alone, Peter quotes or alludes to at least five different passages. In verse 6 the reference is to Isaiah 28:16, verse 7 is taken from Psalm 118:22, and verse 8 is from Isaiah 8:14. The choice words in verse 9, referring to believers in Jesus, were used in Exodus 19:5–6 to describe the nation of Israel: “Out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. . . . [Y]ou will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” And the writing of the prophet Hosea (Hosea 1:6, 9–10) was on his mind when Peter wrote in 1 Peter 2:10, “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

Arthur Jackson

By |2019-06-14T10:03:38-04:00June 13th, 2019|
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