Christ is risen! And that truth changes everything!
In the 1920’s Joseph Stalin was extending his chokehold over all of what would become the Soviet Union. He sent political speakers out to Russian towns and villages to press upon the people what they must believe: Marxism and the Russian form of Communism were to replace the teaching of the Christian faith. The Church was no longer to be active.
One large crowd of peasants listened to a commissar harangue them for three hours, trying to convert them to Marxism and convince them of the glories of Communism. When he finished he was exhausted, but he was sure he had turned the crowd to embrace this God-less worldview. He allowed a few minutes for questions and then as he was wrapping up a Russian Orthodox priest stood up at the back of the hall and said: “I just have one thing to say to you. Christ is risen!” Instantly the entire crowd responded, “Christ is risen indeed!” The truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ would still shape their worldview. The Communists overlooked the fact that the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be rubbed out of peoples’ souls that easily! We should note that those who made such a confession of faith in Christ risked imprisonment.
The world is still a hard place in which to live as a faithful follower of Jesus; many forces would try to privatize our faith or silence it altogether. But we are a people of the cross and resurrection of Jesus and so we are a people hope!
We are going to begin a series entitled “Living in the Light of Hope” and we will begin looking carefully at the New Testament book of I Peter. Peter is sometimes called the Apostle of Hope and his first letter is a letter of hope to people who were hard pressed by an unfriendly, even hostile world.
This week, read through the entire letter of I Peter and take note of the following:
1. What do you learn about the author, Peter, in this letter?
2. What do you learn about the people to whom Peter wrote this letter? Where were they living, and what were was going on in their lives?
3. What themes to you detect in this letter?
4. Do you see a theme of hope in this letter? If so, how?
5. Is there a key verse in this letter? If so, what is it?
May God bless your reading! See you on the Lord’s Day!