February 25, 2024 | Doug Sauder
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“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”—1 Peter 1:3 (NKJV)
“Hope” is something we hear a lot about at this time of the year. Not only is it powerfully connected to the Christmas story, but it’s also something that emerges on our horizon as we come down to that final stretch on the calendar.
We look on and hope for many things in the year ahead. We hope the cost of this and that comes down. We hope a person finally changes the way we want them to. We hope someone finally breaks through to success. We hope a health condition turns in a positive direction. In general, we hope things will be better than they were.
Hope is in the air, and that’s a good thing. We should have an optimistic outlook on life. However, it’s important we understand hope from God’s perspective, because a lot of what we hope for won’t come to pass. And when they don’t, we need to be anchored to something stronger than our unmet hopes and expectations.
The word Peter uses here for “hope” (elpis) is derived from another word which means, “to anticipate with pleasure.” It can also be understood to represent something that a person flees to for refuge. Circumstances are troubling or dangerous and you sense your own weakness. What do you do? You run for cover in something greater and more secure than yourself. You take refuge in a fortification that can withstand whatever it is that makes you vulnerable.
What a poignant picture of what we do whenever we hope in someone or something. But what if the person or thing we take refuge in isn’t strong enough? What if the foundation is flawed or the walls are weak? In that sense, hope is only as valid as the quality of that in which it is placed.
Now look what Peter does here: He links “hope” with the word “living.” This word (zao) means all that you think it does plus a lot more. In addition to “living,” it also conveys “vigorous, active, powerful, effective, fresh, strong.” It’s everything we could want from a refuge, capable of protecting us from whatever we’re fleeing from. Nothing can overtake or capture us!
Peter then tells us that this refuge is based on the nothing less than the resurrection of Jesus Christ! The greatest game-changing moment in all of history, where death was defeated by God’s power, is the fortification surrounding us. Our hope resides in something more powerful than anything that could ever come against us in this life, including death. No matter what, we have assurance of life everlasting based on the accomplished example of Christ’s resurrection.
Keep this in mind as you hear and use the word “hope.” It’s one thing to hope for improved earthly conditions this upcoming year that may or may not pan out, but these all pale in comparison to the living hope that is and always will be the refuge you need for what you need most.
Pause: What’s the significance of the sort of hope that Peter describes here? How does it differ from other notions of hope?
Practice: Think of ways you can integrate an understanding of your “living hope” into the other things that you hope for. Who needs to know about this kind of hope, and how can you share it with them?
Pray: Lord, I come to You with a thankful heart for all You’ve done for me. You’ve given me a hope that will never disappoint and which I can find refuge in, even from death itself. Keep my mind mindful of what I’ve been given by You and how Jesus’ resurrection gives me the ultimate hope I need. Amen.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.