I’ve been thinking a lot about hope lately, primarily because hope is slippery. I have to be honest; I’ve put a lot of hope in our church being able to meet inside in our newly renovated Worship Center soon. Very soon! However, that hope seems to be perpetually pushed back by circumstances that are completely outside of our control. Lights that are taking longer to come in than expected, doors that are on backorder, and the reality that construction takes longer than we often anticipate. This project has reminded me that putting hope in circumstances is a futile exercise at best.
Peter wants to help followers of Jesus ground their hope in something that will never let them down or leave them wanting. Listen to what he wrote in 1 Peter 1:3,
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.
There are a few things that Peter packs into this one verse that serves as a pathway for hope. First, he claims that the Father has caused us to be born again. This means that the hope we truly long for and were created to experience is not a natural outflow of life, but rather it’s a supernatural gift from God. We must be born again in order to be awakened to true hope.
The second thing we see is that ultimately our hope springs forth from an event – the resurrection. Early followers of Jesus were so transformed by the resurrection that it became the center point of their faith. Paul wrote, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” (1 Cor. 15:14) The resurrection is the guts of Christianity. Without resurrection, there is no church, no Christianity, no hope. However, the opposite is true also. Since Jesus walked out of the grave, HOPE IS ALIVE.
The resurrection of Jesus brought hope because it declared that God had not given up on his creation. When Jesus walked out of the grave, it meant that sin, evil, and death had been defeated. The early followers of Jesus saw him as the “firstfruits” of what we will one day become. He was raised immortal and one day we will too. When Jesus walked out of the grave, it was God’s guarantee that he would one day make all things new (Rev. 21:5) – and that guarantee is the reason for our hope.
As followers of Jesus, our hope is not in our circumstances, it’s in the conviction that God will be good on his promises – and all of his promises are “yes and amen in Jesus.” (2 Cor. 1:20) Take some time today and remember the resurrection and allow it to fill your mind and heart with hope.
Pastor Ryan Paulson