“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”. (1 Peter 1:3-5, RSV)
“I hope so…” How often have you heard that phrase? How often have you said it yourself? And how often was it said with scepticism or resignation? This is not the kind of hope St Peter is speaking of when he writes about, “a living hope”. Such hope is a sure foundation for our lives because it is grounded – built upon – the mighty power of God, displayed gloriously in the real, actual, physical Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave!
An unprecedented and startling occurrence is the Resurrection, yet we Christians have become so used to reading and using that word that we don’t actually think about what it really means. Nor do we often consider what it meant to the very first followers of Christ: the One with whom they had walked, talked, ate, listened to, even “handled” (as St John writes in his first epistle) is actually alive again despite having been definitively tortured, slain and buried! Once again, He actually, physically, walks with them, talks with them, cooks breakfast for them, eats fish with them, invites Thomas to touch his wounds, and, most significantly, breaks bread with them as He did in the Upper Room. Yet He’s different, uniquely alive. He can pass through walls, appear and disappear instantaneously, hide His identity when he wants. These are not magic tricks, but a new form of life, Life risen from dead. Life that is alive evermore, never to die again.
When our Savior ascends into heaven, He brings our humanity – including a real, physical human body – into the very Life of the Trinity. For He has “married” humankind in His incarnation; He has redeemed us on Calvary from the stranglehold which the Evil one had on all of us since the time of our first parents’ rebellion in Eden; and He has made a way for all who truly put their trust in Him to join Him – body and soul – in this heavenly joy. Sometimes we forget the full reality of this.
Our hope is living because Jesus Christ is alive! The God -Man is definitively alive and, in the words of the old song: “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow! Because He lives, all fear is gone! For I know who holds the future, and life is worth the living all because He lives!”
This is “living hope“!