Peter writes here to encourage us to remain faithful in the hope that the resurrection of Jesus Christ has won for us. We have been given an inheritance in heaven. We know this by faith. We believe in Jesus and his gift to us, even though we have not seen him. This faith is God’s shield for us, protecting us until that time when Jesus is revealed to us on the Last Day. Yes, we have known trials and tribulations, but if we remain true to this faith we have been given, we will see him when he comes. Peter, not only saw Jesus, but was his friend, companion, and Apostle. He knew the timbre of his voice, knew the warmth of his embrace, had eaten with him, laughed with him and been challenged by his love. He knows that we have not had that privilege, but that, “Though we have not seen him, we love him; and even though we do not see him now, we believe in him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy…” (verse 8) What is it that our faith gives to us, that makes us so joyful? “…the salvation of our souls.” (verse 9) Peter is reminding those he is writing to of these things, and he is reminding us today. He is calling us to reflect on these things and to renew them in our lives this day and all those yet to come.
Though we know in faith that Jesus Christ will come again on the Last Day, we do not know, and cannot know the circumstances or the time when that will happen. “Even angels long to look into these things.” (verse 12) Rather, in faith, we humbly accept this and we willingly to choose to live the life that Jesus calls us to every day, as if that day might be the Last Day. How do we do this?
Peter tells us: “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (verse 13) In other words, we are being called to live holy lives. We are called to be mature in our faith, that is, self-controlled, in the ways that we live out that faith. We are to practice humility, by submitting our wills to the will of God, by being obedient to his Law of Love. We are to know what is good and to choose it more and more regularly. We are to be just in all that we do. Our just actions are not to be merely political or ‘legal’ actions, rather, they must be done out of a real and true love for the other, a love that is like that of Jesus, that is magnanimous in mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. Since Jesus has called us to himself, we are to “be holy in all we do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.'” (verse 15)
Lord, we believe, as you have promised, that you will come again. We know that you call us to live lives of holiness in this world, but we also know that we are weak. We have faith in your mercy and forgiveness when we fail, but we desire your grace to strengthen us against temptations when they come. We ask you to fill our hearts with an ever-deepening desire to love you more willingly, more humbly, and more obediently in return. We desire this because, in faith, we know that all that you said and did while you walked among us is true. In faith we know that what you have promised will, in the Father’s time, come to be. We long for your return and we ask that you send your Holy Spirit upon us like the dew fall, so that we may be strong in faith and committed in our love for you and for our neighbors through all the trials that may come our way. We ask these prayers in and through our faith in your holy name, Jesus. Amen.
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