I remember the first time I had to step backwards off of a cliff. I was in college, in a rockclimbing class, so I was wearing the proper safety gear. But the chasm behind me looked vast and I was scared. Before we leave Easter too far behind I’d like to remind us all of the wonderful relief we feel that Christ has risen.
In our devotional book Bread and Wine Karl Barth writes that that the resurrection represents a threat because it reminds us that we are all leading to the edge of a precipice and we need Jesus’ resurrection to save us. By participating fully in the Passion experience, more and more I feel relief on Easter day. I am relieved that the bonds of sin are broken and I love the Scriptures that remind us that Jesus bridged the chasm and opened the gates of heaven. Whew! Alleluia!
In today’s reading Peter reminds his readers of this good news as he reminds them of what their life in the world may be demand of them. Peter writes to encourage believers who are suffering for their faith. He bolsters their faith not by pitying their misfortune but by calling them blessed. Even though they are upset and frightened he exhorts them to respond to people with gentleness and respect (v. 15). It strikes me that if Peter could urge believers who are being harassed for their faith to be gentle of speech and action, how much more should we be gentle of speech and action with those who we come in contact with. Some just don’t understand about the chasm, and some just have different opinions than we do.
In Chapter 4, Peter goes on to point out another benefit of suffering for Christ; it strips away the things in our life which would distract us from the Lord. It’s so easy to be distracted. Peter explains how suffering causes us to examine our priorities and look to Jesus.