12/31/14- Precious Faith
2 Peter 1-3 “Precious” is a word we don’t use a lot. Well, except for Gollum, who used it a little too much. Everyone knows what it means but who says it? Women say it when meeting a friend’s new baby. Men, not so much. Certainly not a salty old fisherman, called “Rocky” by his friends.
One of the joys of reading the letters of the New Testament is the window they give into the character of the early saints of the church. Paul, for instance, is grateful for God’s mercy to him. Learned and erudite,he is able to write a sentence in Greek that requires an entire paragraph in English to translate. Even Peter makes mention of Paul’s complexity of thought; “His letter contain some things that are hard to understand…,” a line which always makes me smile.
James, on the other hand, speaks in a spare, dry style reminiscent of his brother, with the same passion for justice and love for the poor; you can tell they grew up in the same household. Then there’s John, “the one whom Jesus loved.” Love drips from his letters as honey drips from the bread.
All Christians know who Peter is and we’re all intrigued by his character. He’s bluff and impulsive, a born leader. We smile at the Mount of Transfiguration when he suggests building a tent to shelter the shades of Moses and Elijah and grieve at his broken heart when he realizes that he has betrayed his Lord. He’s the first to say, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God” and the first to elicit the exasperated cry, “Get thee behind me, Satan!” He’s the one who’s brave enough to step out of the boat, the first named on the list of Jesus closest friends, the one whom Jesus calls to go with him when the going gets tough, and the one who can’t keep his eyes open when the Lord needs him most. What is it with Peter, anyway?
That’s why I love reading 1 and 2 Peter and seeing the heart of this man whom Jesus called to be the rock upon whom he could build his church. The letters reveal a man as tempestuous as the Sea of Galilee, where he fished until he was called to be a fisher of men. They say the Sea of Galilee can be flat as a mirror and then suddenly be lashed by high winds and angry waves. So in 2 Peter we see a man whose emotions cover the extremes; gentle and kind, even sweet, then harsh and condemning, then gentle and kind again.
So listen to his voice: “Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours…..” “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises….” 2 Peter 1:1,4 This is a man whose heart has been melted in the fire and transformed into pure gold, in love with his Lord and longing to share that precious faith with the world. Who knew a rugged old fisherman had it in him?
“Let It Rain”
As with a word You calmed a raging sea
I have seen You make the wine from water
Mud and water made a blind man see
Water still reminds me
Of the seaside where our eyes first met
Let it rain
Lord we’re waiting for Your rain to fall
Let it rain
Bringing back the wonder of it all
And I can see Your face again
When You let it rain
By every gesture, every word You’ve said
Once I spoke of power and high position
You toke a towel and washed my feet instead
Water, like a promise
Heaven opens, but I’m not there yet
Three times I denied Your name
Your forgiveness, like a waterfall
Washes away my shameA new dawn is breaking
Another hour, and then I leave this place
I am ready, Lord, to give my life up
I’m so ready, Lord, to see Your face
Water, like a promise
And in this final hour, I think my final prayer shall be
Would You let it rain?
Let Your Spirit fall afresh on me[Chorus]
(By the Newsboys)