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Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verse is 1 Peter 3:13-16, where the Bible says,   

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.



There’s nothing more wonderful than meeting a person who is filled with hope, is there? I mean the kind of hope that isn’t “wishful thinking.” It’s the kind of hope that you know comes from more than our best efforts or our political desires or our cumulative technological savvy. Such hope is way bigger than that, it’s enduring, it’s all encompassing, it’s all inclusive. That’s the kind of hope that Peter is talking about today in the lesson. He wants to make sure that you know that you can have that hope because of Jesus’ Christ’s life, death, and resurrection for you, for all. And, he wants you to get ready to give that hope away when the opportunity presents itself in the relationships that you have in this world.

So, Are you ready to meet that opportunity when it comes? What would it take to do that? Ironically, what it takes most of all is being immersed in the faith relationship that you have in Jesus Christ through His Word and Sacraments. Let His Word dwell in you richly, as Colossians 3 says. Remember daily that you have been baptized in His Name, that you are His son, His daughter. And, in worship remember that you are invited to His Supper where He gives you His body and blood for the forgiveness of your sins, comforting you with His real presence to face whatever comes your way in this world. Being immersed in His gifts starts to “spill-over” from our lives into the lives of others. It just does.

I watched a new movie this Easter season. It’s called “Risen.” I recommend it highly. Throughout the movie, one can see this “spill-over” that comes when you meet people who are filled with the hope of the risen Savior Jesus. This movie is about the story of the Centurion who was present at the crucifixion of Jesus. He is called upon to verify that Christ is dead. He first tries to find Jesus’ body. Then he starts to round up Jesus’ disciples. In one scene, he meets one of Bartholomew, and to get this disciple of Jesus to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, he threatens him with death. Bartholomew’s reaction is precious. He smiles. He has such joy, such hope in the resurrection of Jesus that even the threat of the Centurion can’t take that joyous hope away. Even at the point of his greatest fear, Bartholomew can’t help the “spill-over” that comes from being filled with the hope that comes by faith in Jesus. The movie is powerful as it shows the weaknesses of the disciples, people just like us, and the overwhelming hope that comes from knowing the risen Christ by grace through faith.

So, are you ready? For what will surely come when people see the hope that we have in Jesus is the skepticism and the ridicule of an unbelieving world. But incredibly, what will also come is the curiosity and yes, the faith and the trust in Christ that comes by the power of the spirit-filled words of the Gospel that we speak. It’s important to get ready for the questions and the challenges. But I think it’s also important to get prepared for the joyous responses of faith too. We live in a pessimistic, yet arrogant world today. What is really needed is a humble people who have an incredible hope. Then, whatever is coming, we’ll be ready. God bless you!

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, this world is a tough place. Sin abounds. But your grace super-abounds. Keep my heart and mind focused on the eternal hope that I have in you and give me wisdom to live hopefully in this world so that others might indeed see their life in your hands too. AMEN.

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