First Peter 1 encourages Christians to remember who and whose they are while facing the stresses of life. Verses 18, 21, and 23 make pronouncements about God’s claim on our lives. We have been saved from ways that did not bring life to us. We have come into a relationship of trust with God. We have been made new. In verse 22, Peter tells us to love one another. In essence, he encourages us as a dear friend once encouraged me: “Act like someone who knows she is loved.”
This letter is written to encourage Christians to persevere in the new life given them by Christ. Like us, these early Christians live in a world filled with values and habits contrary to a life of faith. In these early years of Christianity, believers look and behave very differently from their neighbors, which can cause difficulty for them. Our difficulties often arise from the fact that Christianity, politics, and culture have become greatly intermingled. When religion becomes accepted by worldly authorities, it can be difficult to differentiate between God’s call and the call of a human authority. Sometimes the greatest damage to our faith life comes from sources that seem “Christian” but are not of God.
Peter’s words can help us. He reminds us we have been born anew, that there is a spark within us that cannot die because the God of life has spoken it into being within us. From this new life we are called to love one another deeply and genuinely.
Today, be in conversation with God about your community. How does the seed of new and resurrected life yearn for expression through your love for others? Who of your church friends or groups share this value of genuine Christian love?
Lord of new life, lead me to act like I know I am loved. Help me to grow in community with others who seek to love genuinely and to live lives of resurrection through you. Amen.
As we consider further the power of Jesus’ resurrection, how should we respond? This is the question posed to Peter in the reading in Acts. Peter’s first instruction is to repent, to change course in our thinking and our living to align more with God’s way. The psalmist proclaims his gratitude to God because God has heard his cry, but the process began with the psalmist turning to the Lord. First Peter states that because we have turned and have faith and hope in God, we ought to love one another deeply from the heart. Luke tells the story of two men who meet Jesus on the road to Emmaus. They recognize him only as he breaks the bread, symbolizing that Christian fellowship is also part of a changed life.
Read Acts 2:14a, 36-41. How might you allow Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection to disrupt your life or your faith? How would such a disruption change you?
Read Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19. When have you learned of God’s great joy for you? How do the Psalms remind you that you are beloved?
Read 1 Peter 1:17-23. How can you take the author’s advice to “act like someone who knows [you are] loved”?
Read Luke 24:13-35. Recall times throughout your life when Jesus has been revealed to you. Which of these encounters have been logical? Which have been supernatural?
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