Summary: Hope. Not that sappy Oprah kind, but the biblical kind. The kind that says: In spite of the circumstances that surround you, God will hold hope for you, And beyond any explanation possible there will be joy.
This is a wonderful passage. There is so much that is packed in to these few words. I don’t know about you, but the first thing that jumps out at me is verse 8 – Place your finger there – and let’s look at it again…I see Peter, as he is writing this statement, saying it with….shock and awe.
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,
Here is Peter, who was a good friend of Jesus, in fact was in his inner circle of friends. Peter who spent three years with Jesus, working, eating, traveling, hearing him speak, having many opportunities to ask any question, any question at all; Peter may have spent more time with Jesus than all the other disciples and still, when push came to shove – he didn’t believe.
He’s the one Jesus rebukes saying – Get behind me Satan (I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be too thrilled if Jesus said that about me)
He’s the one who denies Jesus three times. Three separate betrayals,
Judas only betrayed him once. And even after the resurrection, the women come from the tomb and Peter doesn’t believe them.
After spending untold hours of intimate times with Jesus – Peter still had difficulty believing.Now he did believe and he believed deeply.
But talk about dense what took him so long? – maybe that’s why he is called “the Rock”
You know Peter started following Jesus because Jesus did what he knew was impossible. Jesus preformed a miracle. Remember? Jesus asks to use Peter’s boat and he taught from the boat – and then told Peter to cast his net. But Peter hesitates: “we fished all night, there’s nothing”
Yet, since Jesus insisted…..and they pulled in a ton of fish. Why it was like fishing in Alaska! Right then and there he drops everything, literally, and follows Jesus. Peter saw with his own eyes, heard with his own ears, touched with his own hands
But the folks he is writing to, along with all of us here today – astonishment. You have not seen him (Jesus) and you don’t see him right now – and still, you believe!
Again we see in 1John 1:1-2 (written by the Apostle John)
1John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.
2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.
John says, they saw, the heard they touched – believe us we saw it. But Peter says – you didn’t need all that – you just believed. Why? We saw why last week – you were chosen – and you responded. We believe because the power of God comes upon us and gives us the miracle, which it really is, of belief without seeing.
Now you might be thinking to yourself, Peter – That is faith, placing belief in what you don’t see, and if you are thinking that, you are thinking like an American -But you ‘re not thinking biblically. Because faith, biblically is based upon fact, upon solid truth, upon steadfast knowledge. In other words I don’t believe because Jesus might have risen from the grave, I think…maybe. No. I believe because I know Jesus has risen from the dead and the Bible is a true and reliable, testimony, not because I get a good feeling about it.
So I think Peter is very impressed by this: Believing without seeing – and clearly these people had a strong faith. And I think this fact sets up the rest of the passage. If you have been chosen by God to have this faith, that even astonishes an Apostle – you have a lot going for you to start with.
Going back to verse 3, our first verse for today: Are you looking at it…..ok, here we go, I’ll just summarize -Through mercy we have been given birth into a living hope What is he saying to us?
During the Napoleonic wars in Europe, a mother once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offense twice and justice demanded death.
"But I don’t ask for justice," the mother explained. "I plead for mercy."
"But your son does not deserve mercy," Napoleon replied.
"Sir," the woman cried, "it would not be mercy if he deserved it,
and mercy is all I ask for."
Well, then," the emperor said, "I will have mercy."