Today's Reading: 1 Peter 1:1-12
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1: 3-5)
What is hope? Hope is one of those obscure words that you can use in a sentence, but when it comes time to define it, you don’t often know how. You can use the word, like when Dr. Luther in the Small Catechism asks, “Do you hope to be saved?” and “Yes, that is my hope.” But really, what is hope?
Hope is confidence. It is being sure and certain of something – knowing without a doubt that it is true. In the case of the question from Dr. Luther’s Small Catechism, our confidence is that yes, we are saved! We can say such things, because Jesus has already said them!
In today’s reading, St. Peter says that we are begotten by Jesus Christ to a living hope. Our confidence in our salvation is living! It’s living in the waters of Holy Baptism, where as poor miserable sinners we are washed clean and given a new life in Him. It’s living in the words of absolution – “You are forgiven” – delivered from the mouths of our pastors. It’s living in flesh and blood as they are given to us in bread and wine for our strength and salvation.
Jesus is coming. In a little while we will once again here that the Son was preparing to take on flesh and blood and begin to work out your salvation. He didn't have to, but He did anyhow. He’s done it whether or not you want Him to. He’s taken on flesh and blood and gone to the cross. Here as the church year ends and we move toward Advent, our focus changes to hear that the Lord has one thing in mind: to die for your salvation. You can be certain and sure that your salvation has been won and is now delivered to you in the Sacraments, because the Lord has said so. The Lord’s word is sure and certain – and that’s hope. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
For no one can condemn me Or set my hope aside; Now hell no more can claim me: Its fury I deride. No sentence now reproves me, No guilt destroys my peace; For Christ, my Savior, loves me And shields me with His grace. (LSB 724.5