Dear members of St. John,
“We have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it” (2 Peter 1:19).
On February 14th millions of people will be exchanging cards and gifts to show their love for one another. What if your loved one forgot to get you a card on that day? Does that mean he doesn’t love you? Does that mean she doesn’t care? What a horrible thought! How can you be certain?
In the passage above, Peter was writing to protect Christians from such thoughts of uncertainty. He warned against false teachers who were headed their way. Their teachings planted seeds of doubt in the minds of believers. They would raise questions like “How do you know Jesus really is the promised Messiah? Have you ever seen him or talked with him? What proof do you have?”
Those same questions can plague us when things aren’t going well. When we are burdened with guilt or suffering, we may be tempted to question: “Where are you God? Do you really love me? Am I really forgiven? Where is the proof?”
Peter answers those questions by pointing us back to the truth. He reminds us, “We have the word of the prophets made more certain.” When questions and doubts come our way, Peter says, pay attention to the truth! The believers in Peter’s day had the word of the prophets to point them to the promised Messiah. Those words of the prophets were made more certain as Jesus perfectly fulfilled every prophecy about himself. He is the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). He is the one who “took up our pain and bore our suffering” and whose “punishment … brought us peace.” Just as the prophet foretold, “By his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4,5).
When you catch yourself questioning God’s love, refresh your memory with the truth. February 14th is also Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten season. During this Lenten season, focus on the passion history of Jesus, recorded in Scripture. Listen and watch as Jesus proves his love by quietly suffering our punishment. The next time you are burdened with guilt and wondering if God can really forgive you again, look to the cross of Jesus. There he proved his love by giving up his life to pay for your sin. Witness the supreme proof of your forgiveness, which God provided in the resurrection. There he removes all doubts about who he is and what he did for us. We have absolute certainty that we are forgiven and bound for heaven because of Jesus. It’s the truth!
In Christ’s service,
Rev. Jonathan M. Kruschel