About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman
As government imposed
Covid restrictions are being lifted, many are happy that life is getting
back to normal, but is it? What
really is normal, anyway? Has
life ever been normal? In 1995
my dad didn't think life was normal and neither did his dad in 1975.
Each generation tends to think that normality is on a constant
downward slide, and that may have Biblical support.
Ever since God plunged
us into what I'd call a state of abnormality (Genesis 3), abnormality is
our normality until the new normality of Revelation 21 becomes our
reality. We have no choice,
then, but to accept our state of abnormality, deal with it, survive it,
and learn the lessons from it. That
being said, we seldom learn these lessons.
During the first three
hundred years of Christian history there were ten government-sponsored
periods of persecution of Christians.
Those poor saints probably hoped that their lives would get back to
normal. It was during the
beginning days of the first period of persecution that Peter wrote his
first letter. Maybe he wanted
to get ahead of things by addressing issues that would teach the needed
lessons to be learned during, instead of after, the abnormality. If
Peter could have talked with his fellow believers after the persecution
ended, he might have asked them if they had learned any lessons.
Some of his questions might have gone something like this.
As God's chosen people,
did His grace and peace comfort you in your time of sorrow (ch. 1:1-2)?
Did being born again
into someone brand new help you successfully survive the tests of your
faith (ch. 1:3 - 9)?
Were you able to provide
reasons why you trusted your life with Jesus during your troubles (ch.
1:13 - 2:3)?
Were you strengthened by
the mutually supportive relationships you have with those you are called
alongside in God's family (ch. 2:4 - 10)?
Were you able to
lovingly yield to your spouse, your master, and to the governing
authorities during the days of stress, or were you arrogant, argumentative
and divisive (ch. 2:13 - 3:7)?
Did you follow Jesus'
lead, who like you, suffered injustice without complaining (ch 3:8 - 22)?
Were you clear-minded,
self-controlled, hospitable, and loving, during the worst days of your
life (ch.4:1 - 12)?
Can you say the trials
were God's will (ch. 4:12 - 19)?
Did you have a
functional relationship with your church elders that provided guidance in
the midst of uncertainty (ch.
5:1 - 11)?
Learning the needed
lessons from any unexpected abnormality is important if we are to
successfully survive the next unanticipated abnormality, and you can bet
there will be another unexpected abnormality because abnormality is our