Introduction: To Peter and the other disciples, hope in Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah was waning! The Scripture says, “And they all forsook him, and fled” (Mark 14:50). Jesus was now in the hands of the temple authorities and their threats against his life could now be carried out. John and Peter followed and each was admitted entrance within a close proximity to Christ examination by the high Priest. And just as Christ had foretold, Peter denied being his disciple 3 times. Jesus, from the place of interrogation, looked upon Peter. And Peter went out and wept bitterly. I wonder what went through Peter’s mind as he sorrowed over these events that no doubt were so shocking, strange, and devastating to him. Did Peter remember the time when, after Jesus’ hard sayings when many turned away from him, he had asked the twelve, “Will ye also go away”? Peter responded with conviction, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life” Jesus had seemed to be the promised Messiah-Prophet and he had trusted in Him (John 6:68). Maybe Peter’s mind raced back to the time Jesus had said, “Whom do men say that I am?” And he responded again in firmness of mind “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). He no doubt, at that time, believed with all his heart that Jesus was the Messiah-King whom the prophets said would come. Maybe Peter pondered the Lord’s rebuke of him when Jesus turned his back to him and said, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Mt 16:23). Peter had just rebuked Jesus for His saying that “he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.” That was a saying that Peter would not accept nor seek to understand. Then again, maybe Peter thought upon his proud words when he vehemently told Jesus, “If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise” (Mr 14:31).
He had now denied his Lord. His Lord would soon be crucified and put in a grave. Whom he had thought was the hope of all Israel was now dead. His hope in Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah seemed to die as Jesus died on the cross.
Three days later, what strange news! Some women had come from the tomb and said that the stone was rolled away. Angels had told them that Jesus had “risen from the dead.” Peter and John ran to the tomb. Upon examining the tomb, the Scripture says that Peter “departed to his home, wondering at that which was come to pass.” In the mean time, Jesus had appeared to two disciples on the Road to Emmaus and upon their return to Jerusalem with the news of the risen Savior, they were told by the eleven, “The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon” (Luke 24:34). Scripture is completely silent on that meeting between the hopeless disciple and his risen Lord. Perhaps the beautiful doxology in Peter’s first epistle reflects the glory of that moment and the eternal truth that transformed Peter from having a dead hope to a living hope in the resurrected Savior.
I Peter 1:3-5:
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, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
During Jesus’ life Peter had come to recognize Him as the Messiah-Prophet, and Messiah-King, but in His death and resurrection Peter came to know Him as the Messiah-Priest who offered himself as the payment for our sins. He and we have a living hope in the mercy of God “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
Peter’s doxology about the resurrection of Christ gives us 5 un-surpassing assurances:
I. An Abundance of Mercy – “according to his abundant mercy” Peter had received God’s mercy
II. A New Birth – “hath begotten us” – Peter had experienced being born again – Have you?
III. A Living Hope – Peter had seen the risen Lord – Have you seen Him through the eyes of faith?
IV. A Sure Inheritance – “an inheritance incorruptible” Peter was sure of his future abode – John 14:1-4
V. A Powerful Assistance – “Kept by the power of God through faith” We will face trials – vs6
Conclusion: The essence of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again the third day from the grave. The hope of Christianity is based upon these two facts – Christ Died! And He Arose! Christianity has a living hope in the resurrected Savior that give us 5 un-surpassing assurances: An abundance of mercy, a new birth, a living hope, a sure inheritance and a powerful assistance. Victory – He Lives. Praise God, No wonder Peter started his doxology with “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!”