Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. 1 Peter 1:3-4a (NIV)
Daily Devotional Series
Victory Over Suffering Day 1
Reading: 1 Peter 1:1-21
What comes to mind if someone asks you, “Where do you go to church?” Often we think of a building or place. “Church” and “building” have almost become synonymous. The word church is a German word that means “sacred place.” Our buildings are important in that they are houses of prayer, where we come together to worship. Sometimes the buildings become foundations of faith because the space holds a place in our hearts.
Yesterday, many of my friends from Wisconsin were posting news reports on Facebook about Trinity Lutheran Church of Milwaukee tragically burning down. It was built in 1847. It was the mother church of many churches in the area. It was GORGEOUS. Now it’s gone. If you ask someone from there where they go to church, they might pause, fighting back tears, and tell you, “the church is not a building, it’s about Jesus and the people.”
Jesus made a prophecy about a man named Simon. He predicted that Simon would become a rock (Peter) and on this rock, He would build his church. But he doesn’t say it in German. The word is Ecclesia, which means “gathering.” The sacred place of God is not a building, it is with the gathering of His people.
You may remember that Peter was hardly a rock during his time with Jesus. He was impulsive and full of weaknesses. But this letter what was written later in his life. He had become a rock for the early church, a great source of encouragement during difficult times. He had become hardened, disciplined, by years of suffering and trial and strengthened by the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The foundation of faith is not in things built or accomplished by human hands. It is as Peter writes, “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.