Look around at our world today. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of hope out there. Pessimism and cynicism rule the day. Crime leads off the local newscasts. Terrorism dominates the world headlines.
Thousands of refuges around the world have lost all hope of returning to their homelands that are devastated by war and oppression. In America, college graduates and thirty-somethings have given up hope of finding a career and are living in their parent’s basements.
To add to the hopelessness, people have left and are leaving churches in droves. Many of the church buildings and properties are being re-purposed as bars, restaurants, condos, office space, charter schools, and studios.
The overarching culture has proclaimed itself as “post-Christian” and has ushered in a belief system that puts its hope in science, government, and humanism as the new trinity. The ultimate hope for our planet lies in science. The ultimate hope for the nations is a common government that imposes its will on the people. The ultimate hope for humanity, in this new trinity, is to be your true self; however you may define that self.
When it is all said and done, science, government, and humanism will still leave you empty. No matter how hard we try, these things cannot bring true, lasting, and permanent hope. They are only short term and temporary at their best. This hope leads to one conclusion only: we still die.
Into a hopeless world, Peter, a follower of Jesus, surveys the landscape and offers the answer to hopelessness. Peter offers a blessing to God; the One Who gives believers what he describes as “a living hope.” This hope is alive and is based on the event that changes everything for all eternity: the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
For two thousand years, that same living hope has been changing people’s lives. Peter knows what he’s talking about. He left everything to follow Jesus. He was brash, outspoken, impatient, and impulsive. He wanted the kingdom now.
When Jesus told His followers he would be arrested and that they all would scatter and hide, Peter boasted that he, in himself, would never do that. In fact, he bragged that he would die first. From that boast came a denial, not once, but three times. From denial came death on the cross for the One Who the Holy Spirit had revealed to him that He was the Son of God.
For Peter and the other disciples, their hope was dead. Their future was dead. Their kingdom was dead. Their promise of eternity was dead. There was no question about it. According to science Jesus was dead. According to the eyewitness account of the government, Jesus was dead. According to his human nature, Jesus was dead. For Peter and the rest of the disciples, all hope was dead.
Three days later, Jesus is alive. Peter, the one who lost all hope, sees Him with his very eyes. Peter then becomes empowered by Him with the Holy Spirit to live for Him. Hope is not lost. There is a reason to live. Peter tells us, that same living hope is available to us too.
We have the answer to a hopeless world, it is a living hope found in Jesus Christ. Let’s be about living out that hope here at RoS.
I love you and it’s a privilege to be your pastor.