May 17th at Sanctuary

Many (perhaps most?) of us think of the disciple, Simon Peter, in terms of his impetuous nature, revealed in the Gospels. He could blurt things out with a seeming exuberance, and the things which he spoke were sometimes great of faith, and sometimes they were words which showed more confusion than real insight. In fact, we read in the Gospel accounts that, more than once, the Lord Jesus needed to correct and rebuke Peter for things that he said and did. Then, we read of a more mature Peter in the Book of Acts – a man who was now an eyewitness of Christ’s resurrection, and a man who was now greatly empowered by the Holy Spirit. In a way, it is difficult, yet uplifting, to recognize Peter in this part of Scripture. He is bold in faith, trustworthy in his proclamations, content in danger, even open to the Lord’s ongoing teaching. But, there’s more. We are given, by the Holy Spirit, two of Peter’s letters to fellow believers. His words there are increasingly mature, and deep in his understanding of the ways of God for all of us in this life. It is a life made rich by God’s mercy and authority, yet a life which can also bring pain, challenges and suffering for the follower of Jesus. Peter reminds us to remain focused on the saving ways of the Lord Jesus, and to trust His Word. It’s not only interesting, but insightful, to see how this one man’s faith grew, matured and even ‘blossomed”. It is God’s call upon each of our hearts also – to grow, mature and blossom in our walk of faith. We’ll consider parts of the first two chapters of Peter’s first letter. Or, to put it in perhaps a more familiar look, a deeper look, we’ll consider the message found in I Peter 1 & 2. As we look at those two chapters of Scripture, we’ll see a great, uplifting and unswerving emphasis upon the Word of God, for all believers as this life is joyfully and confidently lived. Notice particularly I Peter 2:2, and the Holy Spirit’s call upon each of us to “crave” or “long for” the Word of God. Often, we acknowledge Scripture as the very Word of God, our only ‘norm’ for faith. And, then, we leave it that; or, perhaps read of it, now and then. Peter encourages us to find a higher reality – craving the Word of God, the message of our salvation, the words which show us the very heart of God who loves us forever, who promises us His presence, His grace, His care in all that we face. So, there it is. A word of encouragement from a man who had himself been brought through so many of life’s difficulties, and personal failures. His name was Peter, and he had come to know where to look – to the Savior Himself. And he now encourages us also to crave the Word of God. Let’s join him . . . . See you soon. LS