A Living Hope
Duane Vander Klok
“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
These inspired words capture the amazing impact of Easter in just one sentence, and it is interesting that the Apostle Peter is the one who wrote them.
It would be hard to believe that any of the other apostles could have been more troubled by the death of Jesus than Peter was. Earlier, he had taken such great pride in proclaiming, “Even if I must die with You, I will never deny You!” (Matthew 26:35). He undoubtedly meant well, but when the time came, and a servant girl recognized him as one of the disciples, Peter’s resolve collapsed. He denied even knowing Jesus – not once, not twice, but three times!
Mathew 26:75 tells us what happened next. It says, “Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: ‘Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly.” Can you imagine the weight of shame and disgrace he must have felt? But here is part of the beauty of God’s love and mercy: what mattered the most to Jesus was not what Peter had done, but rather that he be restored.
You can read the account of that restoration in John 21:15-19, but here is a snapshot: Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love Me?” and three times, Peter affirmed his love for Jesus. Jesus then restored him and recommissioned him as a leader and apostle.
Later, Peter was well equipped to write about God’s great mercy, the new birth and the living hope made possible through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. He had experienced it first hand in a huge way.
Certainly, each of us have had times when we meant well but gave in to the pressures of life and went our own way, not God’s. If it were not for the blood that Jesus shed, we would be lost in our sin. Instead, we can walk in restoration with a living hope just as Peter did!
As you celebrate the resurrection this Easter week, take time to reflect on these things and give thanks to the God who is still rich in mercy. If you have never experienced the forgiveness of your sins and the new birth Peter talked about, you can receive God’s free gift of salvation right now, right where you are. It will be the best decision you will ever make!