March 12, 2017 – Sunday
Read: 1 Peter 1:3-9
Focus: vs. 3-4
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, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
I am not, and have never been, a morning person. When I much younger, a few thousand years ago, I would get up at 3:00 each morning to deliver newspapers to others in my neighborhood. My parents would wake me up and I would ride my bike a few blocks to where the newspaper company dropped off a stack of papers. I would fold each newspaper and slide a rubber band over it to keep it folded. If it was wet outside, I would slip the newspaper into a plastic bag to keep it dry. After loading all the papers into the bags wrapped around the handlebars of my bike, I would ride off into the early morning darkness and do my best to toss those papers up onto the porches of those who paid for them. I did all this as quickly as I could because going faster meant I could get home and manage another hour or two of sleep before I had to get up for school. Let me tell you, this did not make it easier to get up the second time and my mother resorted to all sorts of ways to convince me to get out of bed again. Maybe this is why I am still not a morning person today.
Last Sunday we talked about the Way of the Cross that Jesus mentions in Mark 8:34. The Way of the Cross is a path of total sacrifice. We connected it with Matthew 13:44-46 where Jesus talks about the kingdom of heaven being like a treasure hidden in a field and a pearl of great value. In each case the one who found these priceless items paid everything they had for a treasure that was worth more than that everything. His point, in both scripture passages, was that the life we have found in Jesus is worth giving everything we have, and everything we are, for. In fact, that is the very price of the Way of the Cross. Today we are expanding on that lesson.
Today’s passage, from 1 Peter 1:3-9, is about hope. Let me tell you a little about hope that may help you understand what Peter says about how Christ is our “living hope.” Since I’m not a morning person it can take a little something extra to convince me to get up at an early hour. I’m talking about caffeine and there’s nothing like the aroma of a good cup of coffee to bring a smile to a tired face. It’s hard to describe but I think good coffee smells like gold. That’s what it makes me think of. It’s a well-rounded, almost nutty, rich aroma that makes me think of golden sunshine falling through the kitchen window. It’s like birds singing along a light breeze. In fact, I think it’s what hope smells like, if hope had a smell. Morning coffee gives me the hope that a new day is here and it’s going to be a good one.
So let me connect these crazy thoughts to our scripture passage. Peter says that God “has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” I love that thought! Christ gives us a living hope. It’s like morning coffee for your tired soul.
You know all about having tired soul, don’t you? This sinful old world will beat you up and break you down as often as it can. There are aches and pains. People say mean things and do even meaner things. We suffer through sickness and disease and watch our loved ones grow old and wither away. Each new day brings the knowledge that we will wither away some day, too. It’s a long journey down a rocky path that will wear you out before you get to the end of it. It’s rough out there! What we all need is a little hope.
The living hope of Christ is a continuous cup of wonderful morning coffee for your weary soul. Peter tells us our faith, of greater worth than gold, will result in “praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” He goes on to say, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” And there is your living hope. Living because Christ lives. Hope because Christ lives. Salvation because Christ lives and you will, too. We have hope because salvation lies at the end of this weary journey.
Where is your hope today? Has the journey been rough? Do you need some help to get through the day? Sometimes it takes two cups of coffee to get me going in the morning. That first cup offers a little hope but it’s the second cup that brings out the promise of a new day. Our living hope though, through Jesus, only needs one cup. Hope in God is believing in a promise made by one who never breaks his promises. If he offers the hope of salvation you need to know that it is the promise of salvation. It will be worth it all. That everything you gave for the Way of the Cross will lead you to that great treasure and the pearl of great value. Last week I told you the Way of the Cross leads home. This week I want you to know that home is where salvation is. This is your hope – your living hope! This living hope is warm cup of coffee for your soul.