Read 1 Peter 1
Focus on verse 24-25
I’ve recently been fascinated by the concept of time. Back in the 1980’s the hit movie “Back to the Future” was just one of many that explored some of the theories regarding time travel and how it might affect us. The fact that we are, at least for the moment, locked into an existence within the parameters of time an space, makes it difficult for us to imagine anything other that what we have known and experienced. It is for this reason that we tend to think of events in linear terms.
When we are young, time seems to pass slowly – as we age – it seems to pass more quickly. I recently heard someone suggest that the reason for this is that when we are five years old, one year is a whopping twenty percent of our lifetime. On the other hand, for a person who has already lived a hundred years, that same one year period is a mere one percent of their lifetime. Scripture tells us that God is an eternal being who is not limited by time or space. That concept explodes my brain because I have no reference point from which to measure that, yet I occasionally enjoy contemplating the idea of what that might be like.
In today’s reading Peter reminds us that our lives are terminal – like the grass and the flowers – we are here today and gone tomorrow, and he contrasts the brevity of our existence with God’s eternal nature.
for “All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.” (v. 24-25)
The Apostle Peter is actually quoting the Old Testament scriptures here from Isaiah 40:6 and 8 in order to encourage the early church believers who were suffering rather severe persecution. He is reminding us all to not lose God’s perspective of eternity. Throughout history, pretty much since the conception of the church recorded in the book of Acts, people who have chosen to follow the Jesus way have faced opposition. Throughout recent history persecution and martyrdom of Jesus followers has been fairly consistent in various parts of the world, and most tragic and confusing have been the times they have suffered at the hands of others who enact the persecution in the name of Christianity.
The hope Peter encourages believers to cling to is that this life is but a brief blip in comparison to the joy and peace that is promised to those who endure. To those who remain faithful to Christ in all circumstance is given the assurance of eternity with Christ in the kingdom of God. Exactly what that will look like we are not certain, other than it promises to be a much better option than the only other alternative – aka spending eternity gnashing our teeth in darkness and isolation.