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Hope on the Horizon

I don’t want to get your hopes up prematurely… but spring is in the air! 

“Do you think spring is here to stay?”   my son pondered this week.  As wise parents we reassured him that this was actually just fool’s spring and that real spring would not be guaranteed until late March at the earliest (Talk about being cynical!).  But doesn’t it feel good this time of year in Saskatchewan when the temperatures break through to the positives, the sun stays up longer, snow begins to melt and even the birds sing a little louder?  Just as this hint of spring in Saskatchewan brings a surge of hope for warmer, longer days ahead, we are beginning to see glimmers of hope for the end of this pandemic and it’s cause for hope for a return to normalcy. 

That hopeful feeling – though triggered in this instance by the approach of spring, can be experienced even more intensely as we journey towards a fuller understanding of the Gospel.  This passage sums up the cause for such a dramatic hope found only in Jesus.

1 Peter 1: 3-4 “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, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you “

Let’s look for a minute at what is sparking such hope.  It starts off with an exclamation of praise to God and a recognition of the fact that Jesus is His son!  Then it dives right into the wonderful, amazing news that he has caused us to be born again to a living hope.  To be born is to be introduced or brought into existence.  To be born again to a living hope – speaks strongly to the reality that we are brought into a hopeful existence in Christ (the living hope).  This was all made possible by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  The passage finishes off with assurances that that this new life in Jesus is an inheritance that will not spoil or fade and it’s sure!  

As I look at these verses I could be tempted to say “well, that’s kind of okay news”. I can even see myself saying – “I want in on that inheritance and that living hope thing” but if I miss the first part then it minimizes why this is such a great hope on the horizon – dawn breaking after a dark night.   The small phrase “according to his great mercy” sets the table on this passage in such a way to remind us that before the good news, there was bad news.   No one who is innocent needs mercy – and the gospel story begins with understanding who God is, then taking a look at ourselves in light of that full understanding of God’s holiness and justice…. and His love.  Thankfully His love and mercy motivated Him to send Jesus in our place to deal with His holiness and justice that we couldn’t deal with by our own efforts.

As we approach the Easter celebration – let’s remember what Jesus really did on the cross – he became the embodiment of God’s mercy in that He took on the guilt for sin that He hadn’t committed, bore the wrath towards our sin, paid the price for it with His life – His perfect, sinless life.  With the debt already paid, He didn’t stop there but defeated death and rose again on the third day declaring victory for all who would trust Him with their sin problem.  It truly is a season of hope.  Forget Covid for a minute and just celebrate the amazing truth that we have been forgiven in Christ and let that perk up your week.   Hope has a name – and His name is Jesus!

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