Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
– 1 Peter 1:1-9
One of my favorite movie quotes is by a character (Red) played by Morgan Freeman in Shawshank Redemption. He is talking to Andy: Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.
I wonder if the disciples felt that way about seeing Jesus alive after his death on the cross. I wonder whether they just couldn’t allow themselves to hope for fear of being brokenhearted once again. That had surely happened once already. Their hopes had been dashed. And poor Peter! He had sounded so brave before Jesus’ arrest only to deny that he even knew Jesus after his arrest.
So now Peter writes about hope, but not just any hope. He writes about a living hope. Living hope isn’t a faint wish, a feeble yearning, a far-fetched desire. Living hope courses with life. It is imbued with the vital joy of Jesus’ resurrection. It is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for us. A living hope will not disappoint.
This is the gift of God in the resurrection of Jesus. Those who look to him and believe in him have hope. Those who delight in his love and follow his ways have a living hope.
Those who fight temptation, struggle with illness, and battle against fear, may also have this hope. For this hope is not tied to our outward circumstances. It does not depend on our station in life, or prosperity, our external comfort or our outward gladness.
Living hope lives in the face of death. It lives in the presence of sickness and disease. It thrives in the hearts of those who look beyond financial ruin, emotional distress, or physical difficulty to things yet to be seen. It looks to a full and complete experience of the redemption won by Jesus and foreshadowed by his resurrection from the grave.
Such a hope will never be disappointed. We’ll not be let down when our hope is secured by Jesus. It’s safe to hope in Jesus.