A living hope...

1 Peter 1:3, "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..."

Peter says we are born into a "living hope." How is this hope different than the world's hope?

Joss Whedon, a creative and intelligent screenwriter-producer who has become famous for films like Toy Story and The Avengers, was interviewed by Entertainment Weekly. Whedon was asked if he had hope that the human race is becoming smarter and better. Whedon said:

“I think we're actually becoming stupider and more petty …. What's going on in this country, and many countries, is beyond depressing. It's terrifying. Sometimes I have to remember who I'm talking to. I'll say something about how terrible things are, and meaningless, and the world is headed toward destruction and war and apocalypse. And at one point my daughter goes, "Hey! I'm 8!” She doesn't want to hear that stuff. But I can't believe anybody thinks we're actually going to make it before we destroy the planet. I honestly think it's inevitable. I have no hope …. I want to be wrong, more than anything. I hate to say it, it's that line from The Lord of the Rings-“I give hope to men; I keep none for myself.” [James Hibberd, “Joss Whedon on killing an Avenger and why Loki's not in sequel,” Entertainment Weekly (8-27-13)]

When we look at the world it seems like a fools quest to find hope. Why hope when you live in the darkness of a hopeless world? So, the world's hope is no hope at all. The world uses the word hope to mean, “something I desire to happen.” But wanting something to happen does not make it happen. We were all children once. Life taught us all that truth. We live in a cause and effect world. Everything that happens has a cause. The problem with the world's hope is that it has no cause, it has no basis, no foundation. So hoping becomes the same as having a dream that may or may not come true or making a wish on a star. No certainty. No guarantees.

When I look at the Bible I see a completely different hope. Biblical hope, as it is in the Bible, can be defined as, “a complete trust in a guarantee of a future reward.” There are two words for hope in the Old Testament: “Yachal” which means trust, and “towcheleth” which means guarantee. The New Testament word for hope is “elpis” which means, "to expect with pleasure."

When Peter says we are born into a living hope, he's saying we have a hope that has a foundation. The foundation is the resurrected Christ. Peter says our living hope comes through, “the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” We have a living hope because we have a living Savior! Therefore, we sing, "He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today. He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way. He lives! He lives! Salvation to impart. You ask me how I know he lives? He lives with in my heart."

When Jesus rose from the dead he brought with him not only the promise of resurrection but the power of resurrection. Hope, in the world, was a dead and lifeless thing but when it heard Jesus call its name it breathed again, walked out of its tomb and began to live! That's the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and our "living hope."

Prayer: Father God, just as you caused us to be born into a living hope You caused hope to be born in us. And that hope has a name. It is Jesus. Remind us today that our hope is a living hope because our Savior is a living Lord. We hope in Him and our hope will not be disappointed. In the name of hope, Jesus, amen.