We are all built in different ways and we celebrate what each person brings to the Table as a Family. As a church, we want to challenge each other and equip each other to grown in all areas of our walk with God. We will spend the next three Sundays focusing on connecting with God through the intellect, through Bible study. For this study, I want to sit with the image of Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus in Luke 10:38-42, in a position of disciple. Jesus commends her for choosing what is better. Let’s sit at the feet of Jesus together.
As we prepare for Sunday, I want us to reflect on the motherly attributes of God. That last sentence may have sounded weird, but we need to continually remember that when God made humanity in His image, he created male and female in His image. All that is male and all that is female is found fully together in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). In what ways do you see God showing us the perfection of motherly love?
One of the strangest verses I remember reading as a kid is Acts 5:41-42. The apostles were thrown in jail, rescued by an angel, arrested again and told not to teach in the Name of Christ again. When the apostles said they can only follow the call of God, they were then flogged and released with the order to not teach in the name of Jesus. “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.”
As you read this week’s section, 1 Peter 3:8-4:11, remember the context of the letter is written to Christians who are undergoing persecution. They are being persecuted because their lives look different than the culture. Their lives are shaped by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. They live a life modeled by the love displayed in the death of Christ. They are able to live out this love because of the power found in the Resurrection. In this section, Peter lays out a vision for how we are to live in community.
Read 1 Peter 2:11-3:7 while remembering the context of what Peter is addressing. He is guiding what the life of the Christian looks like while marginalized in society. Peter believes that the death and resurrection of Christ is what our entire life revolves around. Knowing that we are born into a living hope, an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade, how are we to conduct lives alongside non-believing neighbors, bosses, spouses, masters, and governments?
Peter uses a lot of imagery through this section. I want to point to a few images I’ve often missed while reading this. We have to remember that the Christians in the early church looked to Old Testament Scriptures as their guide for life and understanding of who they were as followers of Christ. In our particular branch of Christianity, the Churches of Christ, we have had a tendency to teach Old Testament stories to kids but then focus on the New Testament alone for how we live our lives. The narrative of the OT shapes much of what is said in the NT and helps bring clarity to who we are as the People of God.
This Sunday, we will begin a new series for the next five weeks on First Peter. This is a relatively short book but is very relevant to life today. I want to encourage you to find a little bit of time to sit down and read all of 1 Peter in one sitting. At the bottom of this page, I have the book broken down into the different sections we will cover each week. Take time to prepare yourself to hear a word from God, ask every question you can think of as you read, and find ways to engage in dialogue with others about what we are studying. Before you sit down and read 1 Peter, I want to make some claims about the text to give it some framework and ask some questions to help you place yourself within the text and place the text within life today.
Christians all around the world celebrate this Sunday as, “Palm Sunday.” This is a celebration of the day that the crowds came from Jerusalem to meet Jesus on the road and parade him into the city as their new King. They gave shouts of “Hosanna!” which means, “Save!” while they waved palm branches in triumph and paved the road for his entry into Jerusalem.