Sundays:  Pastor's Class 9:00 AM (Eucharistic Prayers & Post Comm. Collects)
               Divine Liturgy 10:30 AM

Wednesdays: Divine Liturgy 7:00 PM


Your Inheritance

April 15, 2023 Pastor: Rev. George Fyler

1 Peter 1, 3-9 ~ Your Inheritance

2nd Easter Sunday (A)- Christ Lutheran, Cleveland, OH

+ In Nomine Iesu +

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  [1 Peter 1:3-5]

In the name of the Father and of the (X) Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Dear Beloved of the Lord,

Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

            Approximately 30 years after the Resurrection of Jesus, the Apostle St. Peter took up his pen, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to write this letter of encouragement to the Jewish Christians of the Disaspora.  When these first-century Christians assessed the opposition they met as they publicly proclaimed the truth of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, they sensed the immensity of their inheritance in Christ.  Consider St. Paul’s statement (surely the most daring that the mind of man ever reported),We are heirs of God. (Rom 8:17)  That is what the Apostles understood about their new Apostleship and the Gospel truth their Rabi taught them to pass on to the new believers.  It’s a truth that staggers our God-given faith through its sheer audacity!  And yet, we still whine and whimper, complaining about the steepness of our life’s path, the soreness of our self-denial, and the heaviness of the cross we bear.                                                                                                                                                                  Peter addresses the dispersed in the opening verse as "strangers in the world, scattered through Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia." (1 Peter 1:1)  These were most likely people of Jewish descent who came to know Jesus as the promised Messiah and Savior.  Now being  scattered throughout the Mediterranean world, they lost contact with their families in Palestine.  They despaired that they would see their families again in this lifetime, especially if they had left the Jewish religion.  With this hopelessness as well as all the other struggles of living in a land foreign to them, they were worried and frustrated.  To these beneficiaries of Jesus’ Resurrection Peter reminded them that they have an “inheritance;” one they can now tap into for support.  Also, to us who have similar concerns and frustrations, Peter says: Live Off Your Inheritance!

  1. Given to you in Holy Baptism.
    2. Kept secure for you in heaven.

                The inheritance Peter speaks of is not the one that we become heirs of when we are born into this world.  That physical birth through our parents does carry with it an inheritance.  Our first parents, Adam and Eve, have handed down to us through our ancestors an inherited sinful nature.  They have handed down to us a birth into a life full of sinful struggles.  There are struggles with our health, with our relationships, with truth and with death.                                                   As a matter of fact, our rightful inheritance is that we receive death.  “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23) From the moment we enter this life we start walking toward death.  That is our rightful inheritance; it has been handed down to us.  And we have earned it!  Our disrespect for the life we have been given often leads us to not take care of or even abuse our bodies, to their harm.  Our words and actions toward others create tension and destroys our relationships.  These are things we have earned, but they are not earnings we can live off of.  And there is no doctor on earth who can give everlasting life through any medicine or cutting of his scalpel.  With our own wisdom we cannot patch what is broken.  Apart from Christ, this is our original life and the inheritance that comes with living it.                                                         Contrary to this, St. Paul continues: “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  St. Peter confirms the same wonderful truth we are celebrating in this Easter season, that through the resurrection of Jesus, God in His mercy has "given us a new birth into a living hope." (v. 3)  Jesus’ resurrection gives new life, and through His wonderful sacrament of Holy Baptism He gives us a new birth into that new life.  With this new birth the baptized becomes an heir, receiving an inheritance from the One who gave them life.  St. Paul put it this way when writing to the Christians in Rome (Rom 6:3,4), "We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  If we have been united with in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection."  By the grace of Holy Baptism, what belongs to Jesus belongs to you.  His death is your death.  The agony of hell He suffered has been credited to you so that in God's vision it shows you have suffered due punishment.  The glorious everlasting life Jesus now lives is yours through Holy Baptism.                                                                                                                “Baptismal life” is characterized by what Peter mentions twice in his letter: joy"In this you greatly rejoice" (v. 6), he wrote, and "even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible glorious joy" (v. 8).  In the midst of the pains you suffer in all kinds of trials, this inexpressible and glorious joy remains.                                                                                                                                                                   How do we tap into that inheritance for daily living now?  Do what we have been doing since last Sunday—confess aloud “Alleluia!  Christ is risen!”  Read His word and hear Jesus call Mary Magdalene by name as she grieves in the garden by the tomb to lift her from confusion and sorrow.   Hear Him call you in the same way, as He has said through Isaiah (43:1), "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine."  Be enlightened with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, for whom Jesus explained the necessity of the Christ's suffering and death.  Hear Him tell you that those who follow Him will also suffer: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (Matt 16:24)  Tap into that inheritance announced to you by ministers sent by the living Lord Jesus when they proclaim your forgiveness and peace with God, just as Thomas was personally assured.  Receive the very body and blood Jesus offered on the cross.  Receive this inheritance of peace and joy, and go about your life in peace and joy.  Do this regularly; daily.  Never fear that it will run out.  It's kept in the best "bank" there is: heaven.                                                                                                                                                                                 The fear of things “running out” strikes all of us.  When  you dwell on this worry at the expense of faith in Jesus Christ, you are perishing, spoiling and fading away in worldly shame and despair.                                                                                 The basis for this unending source of life and joy is that it is tied up not in earthly stocks and bonds or banks, but in Jesus Christ and His resurrection.  The life He lives now is a never-ending life, and through Baptism it is yours.   Paul also said in Romans 6 (v. 9), "For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over Him."  You can tap into His life, your inheritance, day after day and it will never run out.  He has given you the account number that gives you access, it is your faith in Him as Savior.  Yes, this faith will be tested, like gold is tested by fire to determine if it is genuine.  The testing of your faith will be in the form of “all kinds of trials" (v. 6) as Peter mentions.  But that faith proves itself genuine when it remains tapped into its  inheritance in heaven.                                                                                                                                                    That's how Apostle Peter was able to meet the challenges and trials he faced.  Do you think that Peter could have stood up before the enraged Jewish Council as we heard him do in our first lesson (Acts 5: 29-42), and tell them flat out “We must obey God rather than men?” (v. 29)  How could he do that, when on his own he couldn't even stand up to a little servant girl in the high priest's palace and confess Jesus as his Savior only weeks before?  He could because he was living off his inheritance earned by Jesus!                                                                                                                                Do you think that Peter's first readers were filled with joy because of their own accomplishments?  Not when they had been scattered and displaced from their homeland.  But living off their inheritance kept in heaven for them they were filled with "a glorious and inexpressible joy." (v. 8)                                                                                                                                           When all kinds of trials come into your life, bringing you grief and testing your faith, make withdrawals from your inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade.  Withdraw often and heavily.  Live off that inheritance in peace and joy—now and forever!   What tremendous words these are, that stagger through their sheer audacity! 


Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

In the name of the Father and of the (X) Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Amen


  1. D. G.