Monday, April 27

Reader: “The word of the Lord”

Response: “remains forever.”

Scripture: I Peter 1:23-25

For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. As the Scriptures say,

“People are like grass;

    their beauty is like a flower in the field.

The grass withers and the flower fades.

But the word of the Lord remains forever.”         (Is.40:6-8)

And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.     

Reader: “The word of the Lord.”

Response: “Thanks be to God.”

Some thoughts:
Yesterday we spent some time reflecting on John’s use of light and darkness in proclaiming the gospel. Today I’d like to follow up on the light implications as written by, none other than Peter, the subject of Jesus’ restoration. The fact that Peter was set free by Jesus, having dealt with the guilt of his denial of the Savior, is very clear in his letters. Peter understood in a powerful way what it meant to be born anew, with sins forgiven. This is as plain a statement as you will read. The one born again by the Holy Spirit receives a new kind of life, a life that will last forever―a positive way of saying it will never end. Think about it Believer, as you read this, your life will keep going for all eternity, and that life is underway right now! This kind of living is possible because it has nothing to do with you. Its source is the eternal, living word of God. Death is simply a departure to the eternal world. Death is a defeated sting, a futile stab at short-circuiting God’s plan of redeeming his fallen creation. Christ utterly destroyed, obliterated, annihilated, terminated any power of death. There is no fear of death. It is a door to our eternal home and the doorkeeper is none other than the Savior. This is GOOD NEWS!

By this time, I’m not sure what will be happening with COVID-19 and some of the fears people may or may not have, but the words of Peter help us grasp the biggest picture without minimizing the present. My prayer is that more and more people these days will heed Peter’s words and embrace Christus victor!

Music: “Behold All Flesh”  Movement II from Brahms Requiem   Herbert Von Karajan 

Today’s music is a little different. I must give you some context for those not familiar with this piece. Normally, requiems are about death. Brahms wrote this “requiem” about eternal life from a Christian perspective using only biblical texts. While this is sung in German, there are English subtitles. The text of this movement is today’s Scripture reading along with a passage from James and one from Isaiah. The passages are a beautiful commentary on each other. Note the conductor and choir have memorized the entire piece so as to embrace the meaning. This is the best recording of this movement I’ve ever heard. Note how their music “sings the meaning of the text.” When you watch this, do so on your computer or television full screen so you can see faces. Find a place where you won’t be interrupted and lose yourself in this singing of God’s word. This movement is 15:18 minutes long. Watch it all at once in one sitting. Brahms captured in music what Peter was after when he wrote this letter. Don’t miss it! When so much of our music trivializes the gospel, this music aims at the wonder and grandeur of what God has done.

O Lord God, our Father, you are the light that can never be put out; and now you give us a light that shall drive away all darkness. You are the life that defies death, and you have opened for us the way that leads to eternal life. We bask in the glory of this life to come. Grant us grace in the life before us here on earth that we may be better prepared for the world that awaits our coming. We pray this to God Almighty, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.               ―Karl Barth, adapted Daniel Sharp