Read 1 Peter 1.17-32
The word God spoke through Christ is a living word. God still speaks to us and through us as the Holy Spirit reveals God’s truth in Scripture. This living word of God at times encourages us, at times challenges us. God’s living word always helps us to live faithfully in light of truth.
We can meet God’s living word in Scripture, as the Holy Spirit opens our hearts to hear the truth. This is not a matter of private interpretation. It is not the sole possession of an expert, or a charismatic leader. Often God’s living word is spoken in quiet ways: in the laughter of a child, in the loyalty of a good friend, in the silence of quiet reflection. Though the Scriptures never change, how we hear them does. God speaks to us in different ways at different points along our journey of faith.
Sometimes the language of Scripture is difficult to hear. We read in 1 Peter that “You know that you were ransomed…with the precious blood of Christ.” The blood of Christ was shed for us. As the hymn says, “There is power in the blood.” The blood of Christ was freely offered that we might be cleansed of our sin. Just as the people of Israel offered a lamb as the Passover sacrifice, we believe God offered Christ as the sacrificial lamb for the world. Christ died for our sakes, that we might live.
The language of blood and sacrifice is not pleasant to hear. In the second century after the death of Jesus, this talk of the blood of Christ led to the accusation from some outside the church that Christians were cannibals. Even today, we might wonder why focus on the blood, the sacrifice, rather than on the positive hope of the Resurrection? The answer in First Peter is because “you were ransomed with the precious blood of Christ.” We can only receive the power if we appreciate the sacrifice.
One writer points out that we measure the value of something by what someone is willing to pay for it. If we look to the cross, we can discover the value of our lives. Our lives are so valuable, that God was willing to sacrifice God’s own blood on the cross. We can find our self-worth if we only see how valuable we are in God’s eyes. God loves us so much, God gave us Christ, a sacrifice for our sake. You and me.
Don’t listen to anyone who says you are worthless. You are worthy. You are loved. Your life is valuable, even when you don’t think so. Even when people put you down. God lifts you up, by the hope of the cross.
God redeems us in Christ. God gives us the chance to start over, the opportunity to be born anew. Our souls are purified by obedience to the truth so that we can love each other. As First Peter puts it, “You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.
God’s living word is spoken through us as we freely give of ourselves. This new life God provides for us flows through the body of the church as we mutually love and generously serve. We are called to be generous in our giving. As the Apostle Paul puts it, to give our lives as living sacrifices. When we become stingy, when we want to hang on to what we have, this flow is interrupted.
One writer compares the results of being generous or stingy with two bodies of water. The Sea of Galilee has water flowing through it and thus its water is fresh and clear. The Dead Sea, on the other hand, gets its water from the Jordan River and retains it, so its water is “stagnant, salty, and stinks.” We are called by God to give freely, to open our outlets wide and “Let the blessings of God flow through us and provide abundant live to others.
“What is my life worth? What can I give? Who even cares?” The answer to these and other questions are found in the cross. In the blood of Christ, God gave everything that we might live. God’s gift to the world is like an eternal stream that flows through us. Let God’s flowing stream water the seed of faith within you. Give freely as you have received. Love as you have been loved, in Christ.