Peter had put all his hope in his beloved friend, Jesus, only to
see him cruelly crucified. Jesus had healed the sick, fed the
hungry, comforted the desperate, and preached good news to the
poor. Through all these signs and wonders, Peter’s faith in God
must have grown stronger than he could have imagined.
But then his friend was killed—executed for crimes he had
not committed. The whole justice system seemed a complete
sham. Even worse, Jesus’ death implies that Peter’s faith in God
is a sham. God abandoned Jesus in the time of his greatest need.
Then, far beyond Peter’s wildest dreams, Jesus appears to
him and the other disciples as one alive. What can this possibly
mean? Could this be the resurrection of the dead that was to come at
the end of all things?
Slowly it dawns on Peter that God had not cruelly abandoned
Jesus. Even though Jesus was killed, God had a plan
and purpose in mind, a purpose completely unfathomable and
Peter comes to realize that Jesus actually fulfills God’s promises.
Through an astonishing leap of insight, Peter makes sense
of Jesus’ life and death, and his incomprehensible resurrection.
What had looked like God’s cruel abandonment of all their
hopes and dreams turns out instead to be part of an inscrutable
plan to bring about the fulfillment of God’s purposes for
redeeming the whole world.
Like Peter, God invites us to reinterpret our lives in light of
the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. Hope was there all along, even
in the darkest hours. Yet Peter could not see it.
Lord, give us eyes to see your hidden purposes among us. 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?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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