“In His great mercy He has given us a new birth and a hope that is alive. It is alive because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He has given us new birth so that we might share in what belongs to Him.” 1 Peter 1:3
Christmas is a beautiful time of year. The twinkling lights, beautiful songs, and pretty boxes wrapped up in bows. It’s a time of joy and feelings of new hope. But the way I see it, it’s not Christmas time and Jesus’s birth that brings the new hope. Rather, it’s His death.
It seems odd to me that Easter is so overlooked by most believers, that it’s not taken seriously enough. Perhaps it’s because Easter comes during the spring season when the temperatures are warming up and flowers are beginning to bloom and everyone is shedding their cabin fever. Images of sunshine and happy bunnies and pastel colors cover the world, it seems. But I wonder if Easter happened during the cold, dark days of winter maybe people would take a closer look at this special day like they do Christmas.
As lovely as Christmas is (and as important it is that Jesus came to the earth to live among us) His death is far more important. Without Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross for our sins we would have no hope of heaven. It is only through His death and His resurrection that we can experience a new, living hope.
Peter’s Hope and Passion
I’ve been reading in 1 Peter and I just love how he pours out his love for Jesus. Even in the other books of the New Testament where we read about him he is a guy who is very passionate in everything he believes and does. Like when Jesus called Peter to step out of the boat and walk on water toward Him, Peter hopped right out without hesitation. Later on, when Jesus told the disciples that He was going to be handed over to the Roman authorities to die, Peter insisted that there was no way, no how, no snowball’s chance that anyone would lay a hand on his Savior. And then there was the time after Jesus’s death when the disciples went to Galilee that Peter again lunged out of the boat to rush to the shore when he saw Jesus standing there. Clearly, Peter was full of great love for Jesus all throughout his life.
Why did Peter have such great passion and love? Why does he stand out among the disciples when we think of the twelve? I believe it was because of the living hope he found in Jesus. Which is why he wrote in 1 Peter 1:3,
“In His great mercy He has given us a new birth and a hope that is alive. It is alive because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He has given us new birth so that we might share in what belongs to Him.”
I believe that passion was always a part of Peter’s character, and it continued to grow even after Jesus death and resurrection. Jesus already knew this would happen, which is probably why He chose Peter to lead the first church (“Upon this rock I will build My church.”) When you have that kind of passion you have hope in your heart. In the case of following Jesus, it is a living hope. It is alive!
We can hope for all kinds of things: “I hope I get the job,” “I hope it doesn’t rain on Saturday,” or “I hope we can go to the beach next week.” But hope like that isn’t alive. It’s just wishful thinking. With Jesus, His kind of hope fills our hearts to overflowing when we accept His gift of salvation. His hope is fully alive and breathing.
It compels us to share it with others and to let our lights shine for His glory. It is the hope that allows us to praise Him and to endure trials. It is the hope that no matter what everything is going to be okay. It is a living hope, a joyful hope that we carry with us each day as we wait for the day when we are called home to be with Jesus eternally.
Our Hope Comes From An Eternal Seed
I’ve been asked before (and maybe you have too) about what it means to be “born again.” For some reason it can have a negative connotation for some folks. But actually it’s exactly what happens to every believer who puts their faith in Jesus and repents of their sins. Your old life is gone and you begin a new life. Your thoughts and actions change as you revolve your daily living around Christ. Being “born again” also means embracing a new hope that can only be found in the loving arms of Christ and His dedication to you. Peter goes on to say in verse 23,
“You have been born again by means of the living word of God. His word lasts forever. You were not born of a seed that will die. You were born of a seed that can’t die.” (my emphasis)
Did you catch that? The seed of hope and life that Christ gives you when you come to salvation cannot die. His seed from which you are born again continues to spring alive. This is why He is our living hope. That’s truly something to celebrate!
Yet we would never know it, we would never experience this hope unless He died on the cross and rose again first. Simply put, without Easter we would have no hope for anything at all.
Christmas truly is a lovely time of year and I always look forward to it. But when it comes to our salvation and honoring the Lord as He should be honored, consider Easter first. At the foot of the cross is where we find redemption, victory, joy, strength, and a living hope that we will never find anywhere else.
May you and your family have a very wonderful Easter weekend as you celebrate the cross and the glorious resurrection of our living Savior.
“Even though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him. You are filled with a glorious joy that can’t be put into words. You are receiving the salvation of your souls. It is the result of your faith.” 1 Peter 1:8