Advent Reading Day 16 – Redeemed Value

“15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” 1 Peter 1:15-21

Perishable Things. We live in a world that is full of the disposable, don’t we? It becomes a greater reality when I look around here at the quality of goods which are sold in Ethiopia. The running joke when something breaks is that it must have been made in China. When we go shopping for something the shopkeeper is quick to assure us that what we are buying is “Quality” rather than something made from cheap materials. Toys here last a day or two and then they break. They looked so good on the outside, yet they were perishable…very perishable.

I contrast this with the people who make their livings by scavenging through the trash dump, looking for anything of value. To them most anything has value and can be sold to a middle man who then will sell to the scrap dealer. Plastic Bottles, Peanut Butter Jars, Coke Bottles, and the list goes on and on of “trash” that still has value if someone would simply collect it and cash it in. All of it has value and to them is worth digging through the garbage to find. And at times they get to eat the leftovers from The Sheraton as a truck of leftover gourmet food arrives and dumps the leftovers. What was perishable and discarded is now being used. It still has value.

It causes me to think about what Jesus’ coming means for us today. Peter reminds us that before Jesus’ coming we had empty lives. What happens when we are empty is that we will try to fill life with anything. How do I get rid of the empty feeling? How do I become full? How do I distract myself from how I really feel? Peter pegged our natural inclination. We try to find redemption through silver and gold…yet we end up not being redeemed. We have taken the perishable and tried to fill ourselves. We too readily live as residents in our artificial, perishable society rather than foreigners who are residents of a different Kingdom. It is so easy for us to become resident consumers of all around us, but at the same time it doesn’t take long before the “buyers high” wears off, “buyers remorse” sets in and we are back to our empty lives wondering yet again how to fill up. Of course it is not just possessions that we try to cure the emptiness with – there are many distractions that we can choose – yet that dull ache persists and lingers. Can anyone make it go away?

It is such great news to know that Jesus’ coming changes all of this. There now is a way to be “full.” Jesus, Himself describes Himself both as The Living Water that quenches thirst and The Bread of Life that we no longer have to hunger. Peter here reminds us that in Jesus’ coming, His death and His resurrection we can have a full life. This was God’s Plan since the beginning of the world that Jesus would come for our sake. Imagine a love that deep. The Loving God whose love runs so deep that He planned since the beginning a way for us to not live empty lives filled with the perishable any longer, but that through Jesus’ coming we could know the imperishable. Jesus’ coming means life everlasting…but that kind of full life begins today.

The Baby King, born as The Redeemer. Born to save us from our sins, but also to redeem us from our empty lives that we inherited. Born as The Mission of God, a Mission birthed in God’s heart in the very beginning and lovingly preserved and carried out throughout the generations – for your sake and mine. That’s amazing. That’s redemption. That is taking what has been discarded and redeeming it because it has value. Thank you Jesus for coming to redeem us.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for you coming. Thank you for invading this perishable world that we live in with The Imperishable. Thank you for meeting us where we are – in the midst of our thirst, our hunger, our emptiness and our quest to try to fill ourselves with anything. Help us to keep our focus on you and to continue to seek our fullness in You alone.  Meet us with Your Fullness this Christmas season.  Thank You that Your coming changes everything. Amen.

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