Sermons

Summary: An Easter Message of Hope from 1 Peter 1

Easter

1 Peter1:3-4

April 5, 2015

How would you answer this question? Who was the most successful defense attorney in the world? F. Lee Bailey? Well, he was disbarred. How about the famous, Johnnie Cochran? Nope! Believe it or not, there’s an authoritative source on this: the Guiness Book of World Records. The Guiness Book states the most successful lawyer was ~

Sir Lionel Luckhoo. According to Guiness, Luckhoo, had 245 consecutive murder acquittals.

That’s an astonishing feat that nobody in the world has come close to duplicating -- 245 murder trials in a row, either won before a jury or on appeal. He's a real life Perry Mason! He was so good that he was knighted twice by Queen Elizabeth.

He would have to be a very intelligent man with great analytical skills. He'd have to be a world class expert on what constitutes reliable, admissible, and persuasive evidence. Luckhoo was a nominal Christian for most of his life. When he was 64, he embraced a relationship with Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

During his own spiritual journey Luckhoo took his expertise in law and combed through the evidence to see if the resurrection of Jesus stood the test of legal evidence. This was his conclusion: “I have spent more than 42 years as a defense trial lawyer appearing in many parts of the world. I have been fortunate to secure a number of successes in jury trials and I say unequivocally the evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof which leaves absolutely no room for doubt.”

That’s an amazing conclusion. Of course our everyday experience tells us that pigs don’t talk, regardless of the movie Babe; dogs don’t play soccer and baseball and basketball, like the Air Bud movies; and dead people don’t spring back to life. And yet here’s the most successful attorney in the world using evidence to the case of the resurrection and concluding with absolute confidence that the resurrection is reality. Then Luckhoo did the most logical thing he could do: he gave his life to Christ.

No writer in the New Testament captures so fully, in one short sentence, the hope of Easter than the Apostle Peter. In 1 Peter 1:3-4, he wrote ~

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,

Peter starts with praise. He's praising God because we have “a living hope.” Peter had experienced that in his own life. The death of Jesus had to be agonizing for Peter. He boasted he wouldn't leave or abandon Jesus. He meant well, but he failed miserably. When the moment came, a little girl's question melted all his bravado, and he denied Jesus. The hope of the apostles was destroyed by the death of Jesus, and in Peter's case – there was the added shame and disgrace of his own denial.

I’m sure there are some here who feel like Peter. Your hopes have been crushed. Maybe you had vivid dreams of what you'd like to be – or do –and now they've collapsed. Maybe you had a set of ideals you meant to live by, but you've failed miserably. It's hard to admit. You meant to do well, but you ended up wrong. Maybe it was a failed marriage, or a failure in your career, or a broken relationship with a child. Maybe you're in a job that's beating you up and there's no way out. Or you’d love to find a job. Or it could be you've experienced the loss of a loved one and it's devastated you.

Yet, it’s within these moments that the Resurrection is designed to give us hope. I'm sure Peter had that in mind when he talked about this "living hope." After the Resurrection, there's a powerful scene by the shores of Galilee where Jesus appears to His disciples and prepares a meal for them. Jesus spoke to Peter and asked him 3 times, "Do you love me?"

Three times Peter said, ‘yes, you know I do, Lord.’ And 3 times Jesus proclaimed to Peter to feed his sheep. From that point on, Peter knew that no situation was hopeless. Do you know that? Do you believe that? If Jesus is alive, if He really conquered death, there's nothing you face that He can't overcome. If He has power over death, He has power over anything that comes against you.

That’s great news this Easter morning, because we are all going to go through the difficult times in life. We don’t have to give in and accept defeat. Because we have the One who defeated death. We have the One, who gave us the Holy Spirit, so that we could always know He is with us. We have the One who promised us we would never be forsaken by God. We have the One who gives us more power and strength than we can ever imagine.

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