First Peter is on deck for the Epistle readings this Easter Season. So, if you like “series” preaching or “lectionary” preaching this series will bring a little of both. The theme I have chosen for this series is: Strength for Today / Bright Hope for Tomorrow, based on the much-loved hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Peter wrote his first epistle to believers who had been dispersed throughout the ancient world and were under intense persecution. Peter wanted to remind his hearers of the hope that we have because of God’s faithfulness.
Yes, persecution will happen. Jesus said it would happen, and Peter reiterates the same message, but it will not have the last word. Peter understood persecution. Like his Lord, he was beaten, threatened, punished, and jailed for preaching the Word of God. He knew what persecution was about, and ultimately, he died by crucifixion, perhaps upside down, by his own request.
The death of Peter and persecution of Christians is not nearly as important as the living hope Peter proclaimed. This is a hope that allows us to live a victorious life, in spite of what we may face this side of heaven. Such a wonderful reminder for the people, then, and for us today. In a world that’s becoming increasing hostile to the Christian faith, Peter reminds us to draw strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, through faith and hope in Jesus Christ.
- April 16 A Living Hope -- 1 Peter 1:3-9
- April 23 Living with Holiness -- 1 Peter 1:17-25
- April 30 Hard Words, Yet Unshakable Hope -- 1 Peter 2:19-25
- May 7 The Living Stone and A Chosen People -- 1 Peter 2:2-10
- May 14 An Answer for Our Hope -- 1 Peter 3:13-22
- May 21 Suffering Courageously for The Faith -- 1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11
Pastor Bryan E. Drebes
Pastor Drebes attended Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, beginning in 1997. He spent the summer of 1999 teaching English to Chinese middle school teachers in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. He served a four-month vicarage at St. John Lutheran Church, Plymouth, Wisconsin, followed by eight months at Bethany Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas. Pastor Drebes was ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry at Zion Lutheran Church, Palmyra, Missouri on August 19, 2001, and installed as Associate Pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas on September 9, 2001. He served Bethany for 14 years. Pastor Drebes accepted a Divine