1 Pet. 1:3, Mark 14:66-72, Lamentations 3:16-26
Believe it or not, a lot of people disagree on when an unborn baby is alive. Even with all our technology that shows fetal development and heartbeat, society still wrestles with the question of when a baby is a living person.
In his book Discovering Design with Biology, Jay Wile details the seven characteristics of life as 1. Irreducible complexity 2. Metabolism 3. Maintaining a constant internal environment 4. Response to a stimulus 5. Adaptation 6. Reproduction and 7. The ability to grow and develop.
We can see each of these seven characteristics of life at work when a baby is just forming as a single cell. The more we learn about the complexity and capability of single cells, the more we find evidence of life at the earliest stages of development.
I recently took a live plant and a dead plant to Sunday school and asked my students to identify which was which. They had no trouble pointing out the plant that was alive.
Life is distinctive. It animates the world around us.
A living hope is very different than a dead one.
When Peter denied having ever known Jesus, all the hope he had had in what Jesus could do died on the cross. Peter had failed. Jesus had been crucified. Hope had died.
Peter broke down and wept. What else was there to do?
Buried in his own failure and despair, Peter didn’t help with the burial of Christ, and he didn’t immediately believe in the resurrection of Christ.
Peter knew the gory, devastating details of a dead hope.
Perhaps that’s why he writes with such exactness and exclamation of a Living Hope. Peter’s hope, defying all 7 characteristics of living things, came back to life even after it had been dead. His hope was resurrected, as Christ had been!
“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.”
Waiting and hope go hand-in-hand.
The prophet Jeremiah wrote in Lamentations about two types of hope as he patiently endured the destruction of Jerusalem. The hope that can die is the kind of hope which is an unsure expectation of something that might happen in the future. It’s the kind he talks about in Lamentations 3:18: “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.”
However, in verse 24, Jeremiah has switched from a dead hope to a living one when he says, “The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will hope in Him.” This living hope is the kind that binds itself to Life no matter what one’s circumstances are. The word evokes an unbreakable rope binding us to the resurrected Christ. It’s a sure and steadfast hope that anchors our souls.
It is a living hope worth waiting for, and it’s the kind of hope Peter found in the gift of Christ.
Daily Advent Devotionals and fun family activities can be found in the print version of “Receive Him: A Disciple’s Advent” and at http://www.SarahDixonYoung.com/Advent