1 Peter 1:3-5
In November of 2000, baseball
player Darryl Strawberry, plagued by drug addictions, jail
time, and cancer, stood before a judge in Tampa and confessed,
"I'm an addict, I go out and use drugs. I figure the
drugs may kill me." He continued, "Life hasn't
been worth living for me, that's the honest truth.... I
basically wanted to die. At the time, I would rather just
go ahead and kill myself. I couldn't kill myself because
of the fact of my five children. I started to look at them
and that wouldn't be fair to them for me to kill myself
We all go through certain "dark
nights of the soul" when life is potholed with pain.
Simon Peter had such a night. The friend he denied three
times had been crucified, and his own heart shattered. He
must have been thinking back at those days as he picked
up his quill and began his letter with the words of our
text. Take a moment to read the text: " Blessed be
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according
to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living
hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled
and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who
are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation
ready to be revealed in the last time."
We can observe four great
truths from 1 Peter 1:3:
1. A Great Mercy.
The passage begins by describing God's
abundant mercy. "Mercy" is compassionate treatment
for those who don't deserve it or who can't afford it.
> The two blind men in Jericho cried, "Have mercy
on us, O Lord."
> The Canaanite woman in Matthew 15 cried, "Have
mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David!"
> The ten lepers in Luke 17 cried, "Jesus, Master,
have mercy on us!"
> The publican in Luke 18 said, "God, be merciful
to me a sinner!"
Warren Wiersbe puts it this
way: "Grace is what God gives me that I don't deserve;
mercy is what God doesn't give me that I do deserve."
Have you cried out to God for mercy?
2. A New Birth.
"Praise be to the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given
us new birth."
A painter on a Paris sidewalk
set up his easel, opened his paints, and started to paint
a picture called "Life." He noticed pigeons in
the park, tulips blooming along the Champs-Elysees, and
the bustle of people on the street. But he messed up his
painting. His colors weren't true and his perspective was
poor. Looking at his work with disfavor, he threw it away.
He took another canvas and started "Life" all
Jesus allows us to do that
through the new birth.
3. A Living Hope.
Some people go through life moping around.
> Some groping
> Some coping
as well as they can.
> The Christian
responds by hoping, and not just empty positivism, but a
durable optimism grounded in God's promises.
Christians are optimistic about: The here and now; and about
the "by and by."
4. A Risen Lord.
"...He has given us a new birth
into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ
from the dead." Our burdens are swallowed up by the
empty tomb, and our tomorrows are as bright as the flash
of His resurrection victory.
During one difficult period
when things appeared especially bleak, the reformer Martin
Luther was seen tracing two words on the table with his
fingertip: Vivit, vivit! -"He lives, He lives!"
And because Christ lives, we can live abundantly today and
eternally tomorrow, a life that is both forgiven and forever.
So lift up your hearts, focus on your Lord, put on a smile,
and say, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused
us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection
of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3).