Study: Reflect on an experience where your faith got you through a difficult time. What (or who) in particular helped you?
Pray: Offer up the needs of loved ones who are experiencing tough times right now. Pray for them!
Serve: Is there a way that you can offer fellowship or support for someone struggling? How can you lighten their load?
The power of Easter shines through the Scripture readings this week:
- 1st Reading – The Disciples face persecution for their witness
- Psalm – “I will praise you Lord, for you have rescued me.”
- 2nd Reading – John’s vision of Heaven, where angels worship Christ
- Gospel – Jesus asks Peter “Do you love me?” three times
The disciples, freed from fear, now boldly proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. In fact, they wear their hardships like badges of honor – “rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.” (Acts 5:41)
A key point emerges: being a Christian does not mean that life will be easy. On the contrary! Striving to live in a manner worthy of Christ means that we will stand out and at times face hostility because we seek to live a Godly life. At times we will encounter obstacles, setbacks, personal failures, and perhaps even ridicule – yet even in our weaknesses and failures we draw on the strength of the Lord for grace, mercy, and life.
This strength is highlighted in the encounter between Jesus and Peter, which takes place on the shore of the Sea of Galilee after the resurrection. Peter has to face the Lord (the one he betrayed three times) and confront his own personal failure as he meets his friend and Savior. Coming to Jesus (who knows his heart) Peter admits his inadequacy even as he affirms his love for the Lord.
These readings give us hope! In tough times or smooth sailing, we turn (and return) to Christ for the wisdom and guidance we need. And if we fail, we fall facing Jesus, who will lift us back up with a grace and strength to help us in our adversity – asking only that we renew our love for the one who died and rose for our salvation.
Note: This post was first published on April 4, 2016.