Dr. Zach Crook
With so many people fighting depression and despair, our world doesn’t have much hope to offer. The way most people think about hope is nothing more than wishful thinking. They hope the weather will be pleasant or hope they will win the lottery. Unfortunately, this doesn’t give you much to cling to when the hardships come. Jesus offers a different kind of hope. The hope of Jesus provides certainty and a future. If you’re struggling to have hope, Peter’s writings in 1 Peter 1:3-12 can offer the encouragement you need.
1 Peter 1 praises Christ for his resurrection, the basis for all our hope. He writes that we’ve been born into a living hope and obtain an “inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and will not fade away.” Isn’t this what we all want? This kind of hope won’t wane or decrease based on our circumstances because Christ’s resurrection gave us access to eternal hope. In verses 6-12, Peter encourages suffering Christians that they won’t have to endure hardships forever. This passage teaches us valuable insights about living hope which we can still apply today.
Our Living Hope is Certain
Every other religion says we must be good to earn God’s favor. Maybe God will reward us if we do more good deeds than bad deeds. Peter says precisely the opposite. He reminds us that according to the gospel, we are evil, but God is merciful. The Bible says the wages of sin is death, but because of God’s mercy, we have an opportunity to get a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Peter knows this hope firsthand. On Good Friday, he was in his darkest hour. Peter had been following Jesus for years, and he’d given up everything to follow the Messiah. But when the Roman soldiers marched into the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter pulled out His sword to defend his Savior. Then, Peter watched Jesus be willingly arrested, beaten, and taken to be crucified. So when local bystanders challenge him, Peter denies his Savior three times. Think about the utter despair he must have felt that Saturday when Jesus was in the tomb. So when Sunday came, and he heard the tomb was empty, he took off running. When Peter saw that the tomb was empty and Jesus was alive, his despair turned to joy. This changed everything for Him. He knew the pain of Friday and Saturday but also the eternal hope that Sunday brought. So when Peter wrote his letters to a suffering church many years later, he wanted to remind believers of the hope available. In a sense, we’re all living in Saturday waiting for Jesus to come back, but when He does, he will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and we will be with Him for eternity.
Our Living Hope Gives us Joy in Trials
Peter argues that our hope is certain and gives us joy in trials. Our world is sinful and broken. Sometimes as we walk through this reality, it can crush us. The early church knew this well. Emporer Nero would douse Christians in pitch and burn them alive as torches for his garden parties. He also liked to wrap the Christians in dead animal skins and set his dogs after them. The suffering the early church went through was severe and gruesome. Yet Peter encourages believers to rejoice in these trials because of the lasting hope they have. In Christ, suffering and grief can turn into joy.
We can experience this joy in our lives too. Our suffering or trials might be different than the early church, but that doesn’t make them less painful. When you’re going through a difficult time, it’s important to remember that your circumstances cannot take away your security in Christ. Even if you’ve been stripped of good health, family members, or wealth like Job, your joy in the Lord cannot be stolen. You can have joy in every trial because Jesus already has victory over sin and death.
Our Hope was Prophesied About and Revealed through Christ
In this passage, Peter is reminding believers that Christ has fulfilled the gospel. The prophets throughout the Old Testament foretold Jesus’ coming and wrote prophecies about Him. They proclaimed that a messiah would come and bring salvation. He did. And throughout the New Testament, the apostles preach the good news. This message of hope was what God had planned from the very beginning.
From the Book of Genesis through Revelation, Scripture points to Jesus. Every law and prophecy finds its culmination in Jesus. His death, burial, and resurrection have been God’s plan for eternity. Peter even says angels long to catch a glimpse of these things. They can’t experience the gift of salvation as we can, but the Bible says angels rejoice whenever someone is saved. Peter writes that these angels are in absolute wonder at God’s love for us and the power of His resurrection. That’s the beauty of the gospel.
If you’ve been walking through a difficult trial and feeling crushed under the weight of it all, Peter wants to encourage you to fix your eyes on Jesus. Look to Christ to be reminded of what God has done for you. Though we all deserve eternal separation from God, He’s given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you’ve never made that decision to trust in Christ, you can pray right now to accept His gift of salvation. Just believe that God sent his son to die on the cross for your sins, and He resurrected to conquer sin and death forever. This is how He made a way for us to have hope and joy as we walk through this broken world. And we can eagerly await the perfect life that is to come. We have a living hope, and that hope will not disappoint.