A very good morning to you again my precious family and friends.
1 Peter 1:3 says “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
In 1966, U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy made an influential visit to South Africa. He offered words of hope to opponents of apartheid in his famous “Ripple of Hope” speech at the University of Cape Town. He said, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
At times in this world, hope seems scarce. Yet there is an ultimate hope readily available for the follower of Jesus Christ. Peter wrote, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”. Our Lord Jesus can infuse hope into the most hopeless of situations.
The apostle Peter wrote this letter to encourage believers in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) who were suffering because of persecution. He tells them that their sufferings serve a divine purpose by proving the genuineness and quality of their faith (chapter 1 verse 7). These believers can “greatly rejoice” (verse 6) because they have “a living hope” that is eternal, guaranteed by the risen Christ, and divinely reserved by God (verses 3 and 4). Suffering believers have the privilege of following Jesus’ example (chapter 2 verse 21), participating not only in His sufferings, but also in His glory (chapter 1 verse 7 and chapter 4 verse 13). Because of this, believers now have the opportunity and responsibility to tell others about their living hope.
Through the certainty of Jesus’s resurrection, the child of God has a hope that is more than a small ripple. It is an overwhelming current of confidence in the faithfulness of the One who conquered death for us. Jesus, in His victory over death—our greatest enemy—can infuse hope into the most hopeless of situations.
When God raised our Lord Jesus from the dead, He promised that believers will be raised from death to eternal life. We have hope that even though our earthly lives will end, our lives with the Lord will never end.
Some Christian traditions refer to a funeral as “a service of witness to the resurrection.” That is a good reminder of the hope that Christians have in the face of death. Death does not have the last word; God does, and His Word is life!
It's easy to lose hope in our everyday lives. Months of unemployment because of Covid-19, years of dealing with disease, constant bickering in the family, losing a loved one, a lengthy prison sentence—any of these situations will quickly sap our hope and leave us despairing about our future.
Why might God want to use a crisis in our lives? We naturally consider crises to be bad, but God often does some very good things through these bad experiences. There are things that God teaches in a crisis that are much harder for us to learn at other times.
For instance, in a crisis we begin to discover just how little control we really have over our lives. Humbled, we begin to pray more sincerely and worship more deeply.
We may also begin to realize what really matters most to us. Our crisis experiences usually leave us more appreciative of people and less obsessed with possessions.
Crises have a way of making us very unhappy—which isn’t all bad. As our happiness is stripped away, God can help us discover a kind of peace that can be richer than we would ever have imagined our happiness could be.
And through it all we get some good practice at sniffing out God’s presence in the middle of a situation that often just stinks. When we resist this kind of faith, we miss the point entirely. When we cooperate with God, we can begin to discover a richness that lasts long after the crisis has passed.
In the midst of such circumstances, the apostle Peter writes of hope. Jesus has risen from the dead! This new reality does not mean all of our suffering will disappear. But just as Jesus' sufferings gave way to resurrection, so also our trials will be followed by glory.
Through our Lord Jesus, God has given believers "a living hope." So often we place our hope in something lifeless: a new job, a better education, a new year. But Jesus is not lifeless: He is alive! In Him, we have an inheritance, a constant source of strength and life, because our hope comes not from someone who is dead but someone who is alive.
The greatest good news of all is that God has given us hope. We do not remain victims of our sins or of our circumstances. Jesus has the power to redeem every dying expectation and replace it with living hope.
What kinds of blessings has God brought to you during a crisis in your life?
The old hymn says it all “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
In our Lord Jesus Christ, the hopeless find hope and people who have this hope embrace lives defined by Him, the living Lord of all things, who will come again. Hallelujah.
Let us pray.
Dear Lord God, thank You for the gift of life and hope. Give us strength to face each day, courage to walk Your path, and hearts ready to meet our Lord Jesus. Help us to fix our eyes on Him. In His precious name, Amen.
Much love and blessings in Christ from Maurice and Margaret.