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Though you have not seen him, you love him. 1 Peter 1:8
Like others in the blogging community, I’d never met the man known to us as BruceC. Yet when his wife posted a note to the group to let us know that her husband had died, a string of responses from distant places showed we all knew we had lost a friend.
BruceC had often opened his heart to us. He talked freely about his concern for others and what was important to him. Many of us felt like we knew him. We would miss the gentle wisdom that came from his years in law enforcement and his faith in Christ.
In recalling our online conversations with BruceC, I gained a renewed appreciation for words written by a first-century witness of Jesus. In the first New Testament letter the apostle Peter wrote, he addressed readers scattered throughout the Roman Empire: “Though you have not seen [Christ], you love him” (1 Peter 1:8).
Peter, as a personal friend of Jesus, was writing to people who had only heard about the One who had given them reason for so much hope in the middle of their troubles. Yet, as a part of the larger community of believers, they loved Him. They knew that at the price of His own life, He had brought them into the everlasting family of God.
Lord, we have never seen You, yet we believe in You and love You. Strengthen our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ who love You as well. Make us one community in You.
Our love for Christ is only as real as our love for our neighbor.
First Peter is a general letter and is not addressed to a specific church or person. It was written to a group of churches in the regions of Galatia, Pontus, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (modern-day Turkey). This letter speaks to a church culture that was experiencing great tension between Jewish and non-Jewish believers. Peter makes it clear that Gentile Christians have been fully incorporated as “people of God” (1 Peter 2:10) and should be treated as brothers and sisters who share in the inheritance of Abraham.