Knowledge of Christ’s identity brings with it an awareness of
his living presence. Just as Jesus had not been abandoned
to death and Hades but was by God’s grace raised from the dead,
so we will also be. This is the glad news at the heart of the gospel:
the promise of eternal life in Christ.
As we tell others our life narrative, we may, like Peter, recall
times of losing all hope in God. We might have believed that
God had abandoned us, or that God didn’t care about the unjust
suffering of our people. Remembering heroes who once gave us
hope of a new world tempts us to despair when we recall their
being mowed down by lawless gunmen.
Christ’s resurrection, now preached by a newly awakened
Peter, requires a new kind of seeing. Only with the eyes of faith
can we see the hidden Christ at work in the world in spite of
human disobedience and sin. As Peter was led to reinterpret his
entire life in light of Christ’s resurrection, so also are we.
When we see only death, where is the resurrected Jesus alive
among us? What signals his hidden presence? Instead of asking,
“What would Jesus do,” let us ask instead, “What is Jesus doing?
Where is our living Lord among us? What glad purposes is God
working out in ways that we simply do not see?”
As it dawns on Peter just who Jesus is, he realizes something
breathtaking about God and God’s purposes. If King
David had foreseen and spoken of restoration of life and if Peter
is a witness of these glad tidings, then Peter sees into the very
heart of God’s will for creation. God’s life-giving intention for
the world is revealed as forgiveness of sin and eternal life in
Christ. This good news reconfigures Peter’s entire life narrative.
And ours as well.
Christ, may we know your presence among us this day, that we may dwell in hope and live with grateful hearts. Amen.
Psalm 16 and Acts 2 fit together, since the latter quotes the former. Both celebrate God’s presence in human life and the powerful expression of that presence. In his Pentecost sermon Peter sees a messianic application of the psalm to the resurrection of Jesus. First Peter affirms that resurrection creates community, stressing the faith and love of Christians that arise without the experience of physical contact with Jesus. For later generations, belief and commitment are born out of the witness of others.
• Read Acts 2:14a, 22-32. When has a life experience made you, like Peter, feel that your faith was a sham? How did you move past that experience into renewed hope?
• Read Psalm 16. When have you perceived God as refuge? How has your faith in God steadied your life? What is your “goodly heritage”?
• Read 1 Peter 1:3-9. What act of power and grace on God’s part allows you to reconfigure or reinterpret your life story?
• Read John 20:19-31. When have you employed the power to release others from their sin? to leave them in their sin?
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