“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9)
In our Gospel reading from John 14, we saw how Jesus encouraged His followers with the assurance of union with Him both in this life and for eternity. This same assurance is what the Apostle Peter passed on to his disciples, and to us as well, in these words from his epistle. The Christians he wrote to were undergoing persecution, possibly from the leaders of the Jews as well as their Roman neighbors. In the midst of such persecution they needed to hold firmly to the pure truth of the gospel that had been preached to them, salvation by faith in Jesus alone. To abandon this and turn back to follow the Law of Moses would be disaster. They needed to be reminded that the church, not the Jewish nation, not the physical descendants of Abraham now comprises the chosen people of God. To go back would be to reject God’s mercy.
The words of Peter remind we who are members of the body of Christ that we, not a physical building are the Temple of the Lord. God is not confined to one specific place. He dwells within His people providing comfort, wisdom and strength to them. In and through His people them He walks around in the midst of fallen humanity offering truth, love, compassion and mercy to all. We who have received such mercy must surrender ourselves to Him and extend that mercy to all no matter their race, language or nation of origin so the light of Christ would shine into their hearts.