Friday of the Last Week

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 7:10-8:8; 1 Peter 3:1-22

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. (1 Peter 3:15)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Why do you believe? You haven't seen Jesus. Why do you have any religion? Why do you go to church? Why do you waste any of your time with all that Jesus stuff? When those questions come up, from friends or family or coworkers or whomever, here is your answer: Jesus rose from the dead.

Your faith is a gift. Your trust that your sins are forgiven is a gift worked in you by the Holy Spirit through your Baptism and God's Word. But even though faith itself is a gift, it is not based on nothing. The Christian faith, what we believe, is rooted in real, historical facts. Jesus was a real guy who walked, talked, and did stuff. Then He died and was alive on the third day. He was alive and seen by lots and lots of people. They passed that Good News on down through the centuries.

Jesus' being alive means the end of all religion based only in a hopeful outlook that people call "faith." Religion and faith aren't just "because it works for me" or "because I just accept it without facts." This isn't an "oh, you wouldn't understand" moment.

The answer that St. Peter calls you to give is Jesus. Jesus for sinners. A God unlike the world's notion of a God who keeps score! Jesus alive. A historical fact with reasonable historical proof. True, your faith is ultimately the Spirit's work, but you can tell those who ask that such a faith clings to a real Jesus who actually exists and still exists. After all, if He can be alive on the third day after being dead by crucifixion, what can't He do?

The hope of every Christian--the basis of our faith and belief--the rock upon which the Spirit anchors us, is Jesus. True God. True man. Lived, died, and rose again. Forgives sinners. Gives everlasting life. He is the reason for the hope that is in you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

I know my faith is founded On Jesus Christ, my God and Lord; And this my faith confessing, Unmoved I stand on His sure Word. Our reason cannot fathom The truth of God profound; Who trusts in human wisdom Relies on shifting ground. God's Word is all sufficient, It makes divinely sure; And trusting in its wisdom, My faith shall rest secure. (I Know My Faith Is Founded, LSB 587:1)

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