Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil (1 Peter 3:13-17 ESV).
As missionaries, we can face many challenges. New language, new land, new work, new food. Or, if we’ve been at it for a while, we might be watching as dear colleagues and friends leave the field or changes come our way. Maybe we’ve encountered our own ruts. Most difficult of all, though, is watching as our work seemingly is unfruitful, and worse yet, encountering apathy, disdain, or outright hostility. For some of our missionaries there are very real dangers involved. How hard it is to see “the hope that is in us,” let alone speak it and defend it.
Yet St. Peter urges his readers in the face of their sufferings to be prepared to give a defense of the hope that is in them. I could try and give you a laundry list of ways to prepare. Certainly, when we read this passage, it is easy to see the command, the Law-ness of it. Be prepared! Make a defense! Have all the answers! And if you don’t, then get to work on that! Here’s the list! Get it checked off!
But the Gospel is here, too. It is so easy to gloss over it, but it is here. For you see, Peter declares that the hope is in you! Despite those who revile you, despite the challenges and changes, despite your feelings of inadequacy, the hope is in you! What is that hope? Peter tells us:
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him (1 Peter 3:18-22 ESV).
By virtue of Christ’s suffering, by virtue of your Baptism, that hope is in you. In it you live, you walk, you speak, and you proclaim. And that hope goes forth to a world in need.
Heavenly Father, You are the God of all hope; grant that we may ever live in that hope which You have placed in us by virtue of our Baptisms so that Your hope may continue to be proclaimed to a world in need for the sake of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
- Missed last week’s devotion? You can read it here.
- Please pray for the GEO missionaries in the region as they have returned to their work after a time of refreshment together.
- Pray for all missionaries that they may ever know the hope that is theirs, and that they may trust in Christ’s work through them.
- We pray that all our readers, hearers, friends, family, and supporters will also remember the hope that is in you!