“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... ” 1 Peter 1:3-4 (NIV).
It looked very dark when Jesus was crucified and they carried Him to His grave. Peter thought that it was all over. He had sworn that he didn’t know Jesus, and his conscience was hurting badly. He had a bad conscience about it, because he really loved Jesus with his whole heart. But he was weak; he had not yet received the power of the Spirit.
But then the women went to the grave and Jesus wasn’t there! They ran to the disciples and said, “Jesus isn’t there; He’s been raised from the dead!” Then Peter’s and the other disciples’ hearts were filled with so much hope. Jesus had overcome death! The Master had overcome death! A little later, Jesus showed Himself to the disciples. A living hope came into the hearts of Peter and the disciples, a hope that now they also could follow the Master.
And then, when they received the Holy Spirit, we see that Peter became a completely new man. He was bold and he spoke up, speaking the word of truth to the people, so that many of them trembled, and became full of sorrow. It was a completely new Peter who stood before them: a man of God, filled with the Holy Spirit. He had not come far on the new and living way to perfection (Hebrews 10:20) yet, but he received the Holy Spirit, and it was as if all fearfulness and discouragement had been taken off him. (Acts 2.)
Paul also writes that God didn’t give us a spirit of discouragement and fear, but the spirit of power. It was the spirit of power that came to Peter and the other disciples. They didn’t only receive the spirit of power, but also a spirit of love and of a sound mind so that they could speak the word of life to people. (2 Timothy 1:7.) Because the spirit of power, of love and of a sound mind is wisdom from God that helps and leads us, we can make progress on the new and living way to become like Jesus.
So, thanks be to God that we have been born again to a living hope.
“‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’
‘O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?’” 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 (ESV).
That is the living hope that God has given to us!