By Matt Hein
Hope is looking forward to something with a reason for confidence that it will happen.
What if there was a reason that inspired a hope, which would never die? What if there was a hope that was living, active, and certain of fulfillment? Would that hope affect the way you experienced life in good times and bad? Would it impact your relationships? Would it influence your purpose for living?
“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…” 1 Peter 1:3
Over the six weeks after Easter, our St. Luke congregation will engage the letter of 1 Peter. We will hear from Peter, the disciple and apostle of Jesus who had watched his hope die and dreams disappear when Jesus was crucified but also experienced the rebirth of that hope when Jesus rose from the dead on Easter.
This is the same Peter who boldly left his career as a fisherman to follow Jesus. He is the same Peter who boldly denied he even knew Jesus prior to Jesus’ death. He is the same man who boldly rebuked Jesus for speaking about His coming crucifixion. This is the same Peter who knew what it was to completely fail as a disciple and yet to be completely restored by Jesus as a disciple.
In the New Testament letter of 1 Peter, this completely restored disciple boldly proclaims the hope that is alive in him and that changed everything about his life. He writes about a “not yet” fulfillment of his hope, the resurrection and salvation of his soul coming on the Last Day. And he writes about how this “not yet” fulfillment, that is coming with certainty, changes his “now.”
In the letter of 1 Peter, this completely restored disciple boldly proclaims the hope that is alive in him…
Whether he penned 1 Peter with his own hand or dictated the letter while Silas (Silvanus) composed his words, Peter is responsible for this letter written sometime before AD 67 to Christians scattered throughout Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). These followers of Jesus needed to see Peter’s hope.
As Christians struggling through life, they needed to be reminded of the reason for their own hope of salvation to come. They lived in a world that was hostile toward their faith. They had endured and would continue to experience persecution and trial for following Jesus. They were challenged with how to navigate issues of faith and life.
Peter, therefore, holds up the resurrection of Jesus before their eyes and shows them the undeserved gifts that it brings to them along with its implications for everyday living. He weaves in rich images and Old Testament themes as he holds the future fulfillment of their salvation in tension with the present reality of their challenging lives.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is also our reason for hope. Because Jesus lives we are born into a living hope, into an inheritance that does not perish, spoil, or fade away and is kept for us in heaven. And that hope matters for our future and how we live in the present
Join us for worship the six weeks following Easter as Peter helps us hold onto a hope that is both living and lived out.