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Week 4 June 2023, Devotion Part 2

Be the more zealous to confirm your call and election… so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:10-11

Peter penned his first letter on the eve of Nero’s persecution begun in A.D. 64. In it he wrote famously, “Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the emperor.” He was martyred in Rome before the psychopath’s death. It follows that he wrote his second letter between A.D. 65 and 67. True to Christ’s commission, Peter kept feeding the sheep. He cried “wolf” not to badmouth wicked rulers, but to prepare his charges for the same sufferings that their Chief Shepherd had endured. As the supreme Victor over sin, hell, and death, He would welcome them to Paradise, provided they had welcomed Him as the Living Word dressed in grave linen to stamp them personally with His cross. (Part 2 of 2)

Comment: Yes, I’m a history buff and in hog heaven whenever it lands me in “His Story.” Take my poking around Rome’s 70 emperors. Only 10 died of natural causes; 43 perished violently. That brings me to Julian who succumbed to battle wounds at age 32 in A.D.363. It also makes me drag Peter back into the high priest’s courtyard to establish a surprising link. For three years he had walked with the Light of the World. Now his darkest hour was upon him. His Lord had just been betrayed, yet Peter cursed and swore that he did not know “Jesus the Galilean.” The servant-girl in the courtyard brushed off his protests with a contemptuous, “The way you talk gives you away.” Indeed, Peter was the quintessential Galilean: impulsive, excitable, passionate, and speaking a peculiar dialect that was ridiculed in rabbinic circles.

The last pagan Roman emperor, Julian the Apostate, revived this contempt for all things Galilean. Born into a Christian family, upon assuming the purple in A.D.361, he openly declared his paganism and sought to restore it to the empire. He made a law that Christians should be called “Galileans,” hoping to eradicate the connection with Jesus Christ, whom he derisively named “the Galilean God.” Near death, he reportedly raised a bloodied hand and cried out, “Thou hast conquered, O Galilean!” Israel’s northern territory was settled by the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali. They lost that identity after the Assyrian conquest. Their region moved slowly into history as the Galilee of the Gentiles, meaning “foreigners.” Read Isaiah 9:1 and be astonished: “In the former time He brought into contempt the land of Zebulun…and Naphtali, but in the latter time He will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.” Jesus and His disciples resided in Capernaum, Peter’s hometown. It was located near the major highway from Egypt to Damascus, and was called “the way of the sea.” Isn’t it quite glorious when history is unmasked as His Story? 2 Peter 1

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