Lent 2023 Day 37: Wed 5 Apr
1 Peter 3.13-17
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.’ But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
Peter knows what he’s talking about when it comes to threats and suffering – he’s been there. His devotion to Christ Jesus has placed him many times on the frontline. He is ready to stand up against all accusations, threats and punishments.
Jesus does not need us to be defence lawyers for him, for he is Lord. Nothing will take that away. He will come again in glory and he will reign. Those who oppose him, individuals, organisations or governments, though they may have temporal power, will not win in the end. Jesus said, “It is finished”. The conclusion is written.
It’s possible to accept Christ and then sit on our hands for the rest of our life, but Peter encourages us to be out in the world. How will people know about God’s love in Jesus unless we tell them? How will a person be drawn closer to God unless someone is there who can share their story of faith? Who will share Good News with my family, my friends, my neighbours?
Peter expects his listeners to be able to explain their faith. Being prepared could be understood as accepting the challenge, but it also means being ready, having something ready, not a script to parrot but an account of how your faith has influenced your life that you can share with others. People generally prefer hearing about your faith as it affects your life to hearing powerful and persuasive arguments created by someone else. When I and my fellow Town Pastor partners go out on a weekend night in Ipswich we are often asked why we do it. Why do we go about in town until the small hours? Why do we sit with people covered in their vomit? They will certainly not be wide awake and ready to place their bottoms on a pew the next day even if they wanted to go. I hope to respond to their questions with an answer that makes some sense to the enquirer, and include Jesus in it. I am surprised by the very positive response to Jesus I get. The Church doesn’t get the same rating. Christians awake!
Why are you a Christian? Tell me about your hope. Why do I need to be a Christian?
Father God, I have an assurance and hope of glory because of your Son Jesus. When others come at me with questions would you by your Holy Spirit give me the words to say that will touch hearts with love and compassion, so that they may see Jesus alive in me and seek him for themselves. Amen.