Friday, May 27, 2011

Easter 6a Devotion - 1 Peter 3:15

(You might be interested in reading/ listening to Rev. Heath Curtis' presentation to the IN District Pastor's Conference, which is the basis for this article.)

        “In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

        Thinking about evangelism can scare an otherwise confident Christian.  “What if I mess it up and say the wrong thing?  What if someone I know is ready to hear the Gospel, but I do not talk to them?  What if I pick the wrong person to witness to and they get really mean?”
        St. Peter tells us a different approach that answers all these fears.  1 Peter 3:15 says not to worry about picking the right person.  Let people pick you!  Be ready to answer them when they ask you questions.  The book of Acts is filled with examples of this – people are constantly questioning Peter, Paul, Stephen, Philip, and other Christians about Christ, the faith, the Scriptures.  And the Christians give the reason for their hope – how they know they will go to Heaven and can trust God to answer their prayers.  It all has to do with being baptized into Jesus, who suffered once for our sins, the righteous for the unrighteous (1 Peter 3:18).
Crucifixion of St. Peter by Caravaggio. The ea...                                    People getting angry with                                                                      St. Peter.  Image via Wikipedia
        What if they get mean and angry when you talk about Jesus?  Peter reminds us elsewhere that that happened to Jesus too.  And as you know from the life of Christ, “even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed” (1 Peter 3:13).
        What if you mess up when you talk to someone who would have believed the Gospel if you said the right things?  Remember, as much as you want the person in Heaven, God wants them there more.  If you mess it up, God will use another Christian.  His Word will accomplish the purposes for which He sent it (Isaiah 55:11) – namely so that faith will come to that person by hearing the Word of Christ (Romans 10:17).
        In this way, evangelism and witnessing become a lot less scary.  It is a lot less like carefully choosing your path through a field filled with land mines and traps.  Like my friend says, it is a lot more like an Easter egg hunt.  Only instead of candy, you rejoice to find God’s lost children – a treasure more precious to Him than silver or gold.

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