January 18, 2021
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.
Anytime you read the word “but” at the start of a verse, it’s a good habit to go back and read the verses before it. It usually indicates there’s a contrast being made, and the contrast can give us a deeper understanding of the point the author is trying to make. Here, the word “but” tells us that Peter is contrasting reverence of Christ with something else. If we look back at verse 14, we read:
Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.
To unpack this verse even further, Peter is actually quoting a passage from the prophet Isaiah that says:
Do not call conspiracy
everything these people regard as conspiracy.
Do not fear what they fear;
do not live in dread.
The LORD of Hosts is the One
you shall regard as holy.
Only He should be feared;
only He should be dreaded.
So the full context of this verse is Peter saying that a descent into conspiracy and fear is the opposite of seeing Christ as Lord. What is most amazing to me is that this passage has been on the preaching calendar for months. There is no way Sung Kim could have known the absolute chaos that would consume American media and dinner table conversation when he first started crafting this teaching series. And yet, here we have a reminder to not allow ourselves to live in fear.
Here’s a simple litmus test. Notice your fear. I fear the injury or sickness of those I love. I fear being seen as incompetent. Maybe you fear the loss of a relationship. Maybe you fear the political turmoil on a deeply personal level. Maybe you fear turning out like your mother, or never finding happiness. Whatever you fear, notice it and ask yourself, “Is this a result of not seeing Christ as Lord?”
I write those words on a snowy afternoon in front of the wood stove. And it feels easy. Just look at your fear and submit to the lordship of Christ. No problem. But it’s entirely different to believe those words late at night or after another round of bad news or after another relationship self-destructs. Wherever you are, I pray God will give you the strength to look at your fear and begin to dissect it. To grind down to the root of it and ask hard questions about faith and God and suffering and doubt. I pray that in your darkest moment, you will see a next step forward and upward. We will talk about some of those first steps later this week, but for now, I pray you find comfort and hope.