God will prompt people to ask us before we tell them... Be prepared!Sometime this year, I met up with an old high school classmate and he is a devout Muslim. We discovered a lot of things trying to catch up and it was within the conversation that he asked this very important question, "Tell me as Christian, is the Jesus you preach about all about miracles and money?" Honestly I was not and ready for that very important question. As I pondered on how to respond to him I realized that God sometimes prompts people to ask us before we tell them and then the big question is are we ready to answer those questions based on what we hope in.
In the Epistle Peter has been trying to bring hope and caution to his audience and it seems the audience was on the receiving end of slander and malicious talk according to 1 Peter 2:11-12. They are being persecuted because of their hope and trust in Jesus Christ. Questions are being asked about the one they worship and believe in. Peter encourages them that they must not fear or be troubled when they suffer because of their hope in Christ.
As we find ourselves in an increasingly pluralistic society, people ask and will ask questions that will challenge the core of our Christian belief. In a world of many lords and gods, who is Jesus to the world and to us Christians today? Peter encourages us that our hope is based on God's promises, and is also based on the believer's experience of God's faithfulness. Peter further explains the nature of hope we are in, "It is "a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that doesn't fade away, reserved in Heaven for you" (1:3-4). This is what we must be prepared to defend at any given time or situation. When a question like the one my Muslim friend asked is asked, the reason for my hope on Christ as stated by Peter is the answer. However Peter says we must do it in gentleness and respect.
Let us be ready always to defend our reason for hope in Christ because God prompts people to ask before we tell them as Achteimer rightly says: "In this context, not even fear of further persecution is to deter the Christians from giving a full account of their hope. It is to live its life openly in the midst of the unbelieving world, and just as openly to be prepared to explain the reasons for it."
|But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect... (1Peter3:15)|
Tatenda Garande is Husband to Juliet, Dad to Kyle Tatenda, serving at Budiriro Presbyterian Church in Harare