The Word: Your Hope

In November of 2000, baseball player Darryl Strawberry, plagued by drug addictions, jail time, and cancer, stood before a judge in Tampa and confessed, “I’m an addict, I go out and use drugs. I figure the drugs may kill me.” He continued, “Life hasn’t been worth living for me, that’s the honest truth…. I basically wanted to die. At the time, I would rather just go ahead and kill myself. I couldn’t kill myself because of the fact of my five children. I started to look at them and that wouldn’t be fair to them for me to kill myself that way.”

We all go through certain “dark nights of the soul” when life is potholed with pain. Simon Peter had such a night. The friend he denied three times had been crucified, and his own heart shattered. He must have been thinking back at those days as he picked up his quill and began his letter with the words of our text. We can observe four great truths from 1 Peter 1:3:

  1. A Great Mercy. The passage begins by describing God’s abundant mercy. “Mercy” is compassionate treatment for those who don’t deserve it or who can’t afford it. The two blind men in Jericho cried, “Have mercy on us, O Lord.” The Canaanite woman in Matthew 15 cried, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David!” The ten lepers in Luke 17 cried, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” The publican in Luke 18 said, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” Warren Wiersbe puts it this way: “Grace is what God gives me that I don’t deserve; mercy is what God doesn’t give me that I do deserve.” Have you cried out to God for mercy?
  2. A New Birth. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again.” A painter on a Paris sidewalk set up his easel, opened his paints, and started to paint a picture called “Life.” He noticed pigeons in the park, tulips blooming along the Champs-Elysees, and the bustle of people on the street. But he messed up his painting. His colors weren’t true and his perspective was poor. Looking at his work with disfavor, he threw it away. He took another canvas and started “Life” all over again. Jesus allows us to do that through the new birth.
  3. A Living Hope. Some people go through life moping around. Some by groping for answers. Some by coping as well as they can. The Christian responds by hoping, and not just empty positivism, but a durable optimism grounded in God’s promises. Christians are optimistic about: (1) The here and now; and about (2) The “by and by.”
  4. A Risen Lord. “…has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Our burdens are swallowed up by the empty tomb, and our tomorrows are as bright as the flash of His resurrection victory.

During one difficult period when things appeared especially bleak, the reformer Martin Luther was seen tracing two words on the table with his fingertip: Vivit, vivit! —”He lives, He lives!” And because Christ lives, we can live abundantly today and eternally tomorrow, a life that is both forgiven and forever.

So lift up your hearts, focus on your Lord, put on a smile, and say: Blessed be the God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten me again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

%d bloggers like this: