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Transformed Through Hope

Updated: Apr 1




Hope is a powerful and transformative force. The early church father, Clement of Rome, remarked in 1 Clement:


1Clem 26:2, 26:3, 27:1

"For He saith in a certain place And Thou shalt raise me up, and I will praise Thee; and; I went to rest and slept, I was awaked, for Thou art with me. And again Job saith And Thou shall raise this my flesh which hath endured all these things. With this hope therefore let our souls be bound unto Him that is faithful in His promises and that is righteous in His judgments." (1)


We need hope to maintain the will to live.


Today, as we consider Hope Through the Resurrection of Jesus, I would like us to consider the example of a man whose life was transformed by the hope of resurrection. 


Have you ever needed hope? Have you been in those places of doubt, denial, confusion, and fear? In some ways, we all have. What can we learn from the Scriptures and the life of a man who once denied knowing Jesus about hope through the resurrection for our lives today? 


Text


1 Peter 1:3–9 (NIV)

"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, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 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. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 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. 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.”


The Call


Before we look at these powerful words penned by the Apostle Peter, let's back up for a moment in his story. Peter was among the first disciples called to follow Jesus (Matt. 4:18-20). Peter grew up in Bethsaida, a fishing village on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. He had carved out a fishing business in partnership with James and John, the sons of Zebedee. Married, Peter later lived in Capernaum; it was here that he met Jesus. Through the teaching ministry of Jesus in Capernaum, Peter likely heard of Jesus and may have been familiar with what He had been teaching. However, when Jesus approached Peter and said, "Follow me" (Matt. 4:19), Peter's life would chart a new course. 


Jesus could see something in Peter that Peter did not recognize in himself. Jesus and His disciples had traveled to the region of Caesarea Philippi when He asked them, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16).


Matthew 16:17–18 (NIV)

"Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."


In this powerful confession, revealed by the Father in heaven, Jesus changes the name of a man once known as Simon to Peter, meaning a rock. Jesus saw in Peter something Peter did not recognize in himself. Peter would be used in powerful ways for God's kingdom and the message of Jesus. Jesus knows our past, and He knows our potential. Yet, doubt and fear often limit our potential for the kingdom when Jesus simply says follow me. 


The Fears, Doubts, & Denial


Peter struggled to recognize his potential and understand what Jesus called him to do. Like many of us who struggle to recognize and understand, Peter had doubts and fears and made mistakes. 


One event recorded in the Scriptures seemingly extinguished Peter's hope. Peter had laid down his nets and walked away from the business he had built. He had followed Jesus from town to town, walked miles of dusty roads, witnessed miracles, and listened to Jesus' teaching. However, on one eventful day, Peter was driven back into the darkness of fear, confusion, disappointment, and denial. The "rock," unshaken and confident and who claimed that if all others denied Jesus, he would still follow (Matt. 26:33), is pushed back into darkness. 


On this very night, Jesus was betrayed, arrested, and taken before the Sanhedrin. 


Matthew 26:69–75 (NIV)

"Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. "You also were with Jesus of Galilee," she said. But he denied it before them all. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said. Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, "This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth." He denied it again, with an oath: "I don't know the man!" After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, "Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away." Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, "I don't know the man!" Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly."


Jesus is led before Pilate, mocked, and nailed to a Roman cross (Matt. 27), an instrument of public shame, pain, and death. Jesus "gives up His spirit" as the earth shakes (Matt. 27:50-51). Peter is driven to darkness, denial, confusion, and fear. Jesus had once told Peter that death itself, the gates of Hades, will not prevail. Yet it seems death has gained the victory on this day. 

 

What do we do with Peter's doubts, denials, and fears? We can relate, can't we? We can understand the feeling of being driven to fear. We've experienced doubts and perhaps even denials. I can't imagine hearing the news of a terrifying diagnosis. Some of you have. We have held the hands of our loved ones in the hospital. We've lowered our heads in prayer with them, some all too young, and death seems to be the victor. We see the suffering committed by the hands of people to others, and we are left with the question, why? Without hope, is there life?


Transforming Hope


The good news of Resurrection Day is that death is not the victor. Life wins. Jesus overcame death and promises life to all who believe in Him; death will not prevail. The Apostle Paul teaches us this glorious truth:


1 Corinthians 15:20–22 (NIV)

"But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive."


Peter is not left in denial but transformed through hope in Jesus's resurrection from the dead. Through this hope, Peter is given life—life for today and life to come. In hope, Peter is transformed. Returning to the beautiful and powerful words Peter recorded in 1 Peter, notice the joy, blessing, grace, mercy, and hope that has overtaken Peter's life. In the original language, this is one whole sentence; there is no period or a stopping point. Eugene Peterson offers a paraphrase in The Message:


3-5 What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we've been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you'll have it all—life healed and whole.

6-7 I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it's your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.

8-9 You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don't see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you'll get what you're looking forward to: total salvation.


Crossing The Context


Peter's life was transformed through the hope of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. And this hope filled Peter with new life. 


As we come to Jesus, we may have doubts, fears, and denials, but His resurrection from the dead extinguishes the darkness. As Peter mentioned, life in Christ does not mean a life free of trials, questions, suffering, or pain. However, life in Christ means that these are not the victors. We can have hope that transforms our lives through His resurrection from the dead. 


Through the RESURRECTION of JESUS, we have an unfailing HOPE and LIFE in Him




notes:


Scripture references and quotations are from the: Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


1.     Clement of Rome. "First Clement." Early Christian Writingswww.earlychristianwritings.com/text/1clement-lightfoot.html. Accessed 29 Mar. 2024.

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