“…Jesus Christ, to the strangers…”
1 Peter 1:1
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
I included both references so you would see the complete verse, but today, those five words stuck out to me. The Message translates it as, “I, Peter, am an apostle on assignment by Jesus, the Messiah, writing to exiles scattered to the four winds…”
Both versions are beautiful, but what struck me was the dual meaning of those words. Now, we are citizens of another kingdom, one not of this world, but there was a time when we were a different type of strangers.
Because of sin, we were strangers to the commonwealth of Israel. A sinless, spotless God was foreign to us. Even to Israel, sin was a barrier. Then God did the unthinkable, He went from reaching out to strangers to entering a strange world.
The One who created Earth, became a stranger in it. He walked the streets of our world, and yet people treated Him like an unwelcome stranger, and He allowed it for our sakes. He endured more than the pain of the cross, knowing everyday how His creation viewed Him.
Introducing Himself to strangers, hoping they would take the time to accept His friendship.
Jesus is still introducing His kindness, mercy, and salvation to a hurting and painful world. Are we doing the same?
When we meet someone we don’t know, is any part of our mind on introducing ourselves to them? Or are we only thinking about our coffee, groceries, and what what we need? Even when Jesus was tired, hungry, and thirsty, He put the needs of the people He met above His own.
Do we do that? Sure, it’s on our minds on Sunday, but what about Thursday? Simon Peter said He was on assignment from Jesus, to communicate with strangers. What if we started to view every chance encounter as a scheduled meeting by God.
I don’t mean to get super spiritual and let them know it. I only mean, to stop, take a breath, and be focused on them. To be kind on purpose, not wanting anything, just intent on reflecting Jesus.
Strategically listening, caring about their problems, and following up at every opportunity. This will create friendships, and that means you’re no more strangers. Then, like friends do, we can introduce our new friends to our best friend.
The only friend that can forgive, free, and forge a new life for those who are introduced to His mercy. Then, they can go from the verse we began with, to this one.
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;