I hang out with some very peculiar people. The world really doesn’t know what to make of us. They roll their eyes, shake their heads or snarl in disgust. No, we are not hormonally-crazed teenagers on spring break. We are Christians, living our lives for Jesus in a lost and dying world.
1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
In his writing, Peter described Christians as a peculiar people. The King James Version uses the term “peculiar”, while most other versions say “special”. We often think of the word peculiar meaning strange, odd or unusual, and in the eyes of the world that’s what we are. For example, you have probably heard a news story about someone who has been convicted of killing a person and a member of that person’s family spoke up and said that he or she forgives the killer. Your first thought is to ask how that is possible. Who does that? How do you forgive someone for taking the life of a loved one? It can only be done through the love of Jesus, and I would imagine it takes a lot of prayer.
Here is another example of peculiar Christians. I was watching “19 Kids and Counting” about the Duggar family. They were attending a wedding of a friend who was from a big family like theirs. The young couple being married had never kissed! Their first kiss was during the wedding ceremony when the preacher told the young man he could kiss his bride. Who does that? I admire these young people for holding fast to their values, but the “world” thinks they are crazy. Probably some Christians think that, too, but we understand why they made that commitment and we are encouraged by their faith.
Christians do a lot of other really strange things, too (at least they should anyway). They don’t drink or swear or tell dirty jokes. If a cashier gives them back too much change, they hand it back to her. They will make you dinner if you need it and schedule a week’s worth of meals to be cooked and brought to you if you are sick. They will spend their last dollar to help a person in need even if they don’t have anything themselves. They will tell you that they love you and mean it and show it every time they see you. They will accept you as you are. They will keep telling people about Jesus, even when people slam doors (literally and figuratively) in their faces. They will praise His name in the good times and praise His name in the bad times. They keep their fire stirred and their lamps lit and continue shining for Him, regardless of the circumstances.
Deuteronomy 14:2 For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.
Peculiar also means belonging characteristically to or belonging exclusively to some person, group or thing. We are peculiar to Jesus Christ, belonging to Him and striving to exhibit His characteristics through speech and actions. Why do we this? We do it because we love Him and because of His mercy and grace. Most people who receive a gift want to keep it to themselves to enjoy. The gift that Christ gave us is one that we want to immediately give away, but who does that? We do it because we want everyone to have what we have – hope, salvation, joy, peace, love.
We are peculiar Christians because over 2000 years ago, the Son of Man, the Son of God did the most peculiar thing. He, being innocent, accepted our guilt and shame and endured the punishment that we deserve. Isaiah 53:5 says, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” He was crucified and shed every drop of blood as a sacrifice to atone for our sins. Who does that? The world cannot believe that anyone would do such a thing and call it a fairy tale. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
On Sunday, April 20, 2014, Christians everywhere will observe Easter by celebrating the resurrection of Christ. Jesus not only died so that we could be saved and have eternal life, but He also rose from the dead on the third day and is living today. He is at the right hand of the Father and lives in the heart of every believer. He is our savior, friend, guide and provider. The world thinks we are crazy, but we think the world is crazier. Jesus freely offers his love, mercy and grace to anyone and everyone who wants it, yet people turn Him down every day. Who does that?!?
So, how about you? Are you peculiar? If not, do you want to be? Stop by your local church and check out the peculiar people inside. You might find yourself wanting what they have, and the best part is that they are crazy enough to share it with you!