Monday

09 November 2015

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (v. 3)

Psalm: Psalm 119:145-160


Background

This letter was most probably written by the apostle Peter and is addressed to the churches in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, all of which were regions of modern day Turkey.

Peter speaks of a "living hope" in verse 3 and it is worth thinking about what makes a hope 'living'. If a Tottenham Hotspur fan were asked if her team were going to win the league this year she would probably reply 'I hope so'. But even though she hoped this would happen, she probably did not expect it. Another fan (Manchester United for example) might have a more realistic hope but even this is not certain. Neither of these hopes is a "living hope" because neither is certain.

But when Peter speaks of a living hope, he is speaking of the resurrection life in which we can all participate. Peter is not describing the natural life of our human bodies but the resurrection hope we have in Jesus Christ that we will be raised from the dead. This hope is "kept in heaven" (v. 4) but will also  be revealed at the end of time and symbolised by the idea of the new birth (verse 3).

Because of this, when we suffer the trials and tribulations of this life we do not lose hope. Even when a loved one dies, we do not lose hope because we have this promise of eternal life; described by Peter as an 'imperishable inheritance' in verse 4.

In verse 8 Peter recognises that the recipients of his letter would not have seen the Risen Christ although we know that Peter did. But this does not matter. The important thing is that this hope is accessed by faith in Jesus Christ. Their love for Christ is not based on seeing him but because they believe in him and consequently have an indescribable joy in the midst of the challenges of this world.


To Ponder

  • Would seeing the risen Christ as Peter did help your faith? How?
  • Have you experienced the indescribable joy described by Peter? What was it like? And what effect does it have on you?


Bible notes author:
 The Revd Jonathan Mead

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