1 Peter 1:17-25
17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Because of sin, all of us are born of perishable seed. This fact shapes how we live and how we act. We have inherited futile ways from our forefathers. And in this time of exile, we end up on a pendulum of pride and despair because we let the things of this world form and shape us.
When life is good, you figure it will always be good. You get prideful, and in your pride, you get comfortable thinking that you are the master and the little “g” god of everything around you. But then, things take a turn. Your world is rocked, things fall apart. You fall into despair because you don’t know what to do or where to turn. And between those places of pride and despair, we figure everything is futile.
We see this happen in our Gospel lesson (Lk. 24:13-35). As the two disciples on the road to Emmaus talk with Jesus, we see that their thinking and their actions were shaped by the futile ways of this world.
Jesus appears to these two as they walked on the road that first Easter afternoon. The two disciples talk about how glorious following Jesus had been. Jesus was mighty in deed and word before God and all the people. He was healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, feeding the hungry, and raising the dead. Good stuff. They figured that He was going to be the one to redeem Israel, and since they were following Him, their pendulum had swung to a place of pride.
But, then, things changed. Jesus was arrested. He was delivered up to the authorities. He was condemned. He was crucified. The one they thought going to redeem them, died and was buried. They figured they must have been wrong, wrong about everything. So their pendulum swung all the way to despair.
And the events of the morning left them totally unsure of everything. The women said they had a vision of angels who said He was alive. But when Peter and John went to the tomb, they didn’t see Jesus. Their pendulum was moving once again, but they didn’t know if it would be to something good or something bad. They wanted to hope. They wanted to believe. But they didn’t know what to think or do.
And the irony in that Gospel text is that Jesus was right there with them. But because they were focused on themselves and their circumstances, they didn’t recognize Jesus.
What happened to these two disciples also happens to us. Even when we are following Jesus and in His presence, there is this danger of letting the futile, momentary things of this world shape us, our actions, and our belief.
Repent. Repent of being focused on yourself and the things that happen to you. Repent of letting the momentary things of this life form and shape you. Repent of missing Jesus’ presence when He is right there speaking to you.
In the closing words of this text, Peter gives a warning. He reminds us that we are like the grass. “All flesh is like grass…. The grass withers and the flower falls.”
But Peter also gives us a promise – an unfading, unshakable, certain, eternal promise, “the word of the Lord remains forever. And this word is the good news (the Gospel) that was preached to you.”
Strong and secure in the howling winds of change has always been the Word of the Lord, the Word of the Gospel of Christ crucified and risen, which stands forever.
This Word of the Gospel declares you that you are born again. You are born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable seed.
You see, God’s eternal plan was to send Jesus to redeem you from sin, death, and the devil – not with silver and gold, but with Christ’s holy and precious blood and with His innocent sufferings and death.
This Jesus was foreknown before the foundation of the world. That means even before Adam and Eve believed the devil’s lies and fell into sin, even before God created this world, God had determined to save you, to ransom you, to purchase you from sin by sending His own beloved Son.
Jesus, the Word of God made flesh, is this imperishable seed. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world.
God had promised to send Him. The prophets foretold His coming. But Jesus’ love for you has been made manifest in these last days for your sake so that your faith and your hope would not be in futile things, not in perishable things, not in things that fall and fade. God’s eternal love for you has been made manifest in Jesus and what He has done for you so that your faith and hope would be in Him – the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.
Remember that this is your time of exile. Remember that you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but imperishable seed. You have been born of the living, abiding Word of God.
You are His flock, and He will watch over you.
You are His brothers and sisters, and He will defend you.
You are His children, and He will protect you and provide for you.
You are His bride, and He will always remain faithful to you.
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.