One of my regrets from my time in the US apologetics scene is how I imbibed and passed along the attitude that Christians should always have answers.
In trying to be right, I was wrong.
“Always be prepared” I said, quoting 1 Peter 3.
But was I prepared to explain this verse?
I don’t think Peter expected the scattered, persecuted, and impoverished followers of Jesus to be nuking the Stoic philosophers in the town center.
Even a simple confession of loyalty to Christ could lead to suffering, and sometimes martyrdom.
I think he wanted to encourage them to stay faithful to Jesus in their daily lives and church networks.
And what was the actual reason for their hope in the midst of suffering?
It was so simple:
Jesus is Lord!
That’s what they knew in their hearts and in their community as they lived as disciples.
If Jesus is Lord, there’s hope:
Caesar isn’t in charge!
The oppression of this world has an end date: but God’s blessing will last forever.
And what provokes interest in their message?
Is it great arguments?
Peter is clear and emphatic:
- Love one another
- Turn away from evil
- Devotion to what is good
- Suffer for righteousness
- Live with hope
- A gentle and reverent approach
- Suffer for doing good
- Good conduct in Christ
As anyone who knows me would say: I have a long way to go.
But these are some of my new priorities.
And in my struggle to practice this way, I often need to confess, “I don’t know… but Jesus is Lord.”