Read 1 Peter 3:14-15
Has anybody asked you about your hope recently? In 1 Peter 3:15, Peter assumes that there will be someone who will be asking you about your hope. Now that’s interesting, because the word hope itself is an abstract word, isn’t it? Hope itself is immaterial. It’s invisible. And yet Peter assumes that our hope will be visible to those around us. So the question is: how are they actually seeing your hope?
The answer seems to lie in the immediate context, in verses 14-15a. Peter is speaking to Christians who are suffering. They are undergoing trials. They have become the target of slander and unfair treatment (eg. 1:6, 2:15, 20; 4:3). And how indeed should they be reacting? “Do not fear.” “Do not be frightened.” Hope in itself is invisible, but the actions of hope are very visible indeed!
But why do they not fear? What sort of hope is this that would lend itself to such actions? Verse 15 gives us another clue. The Christians revere Christ as Lord. They have set him apart as the One they most fear. So they do not fear the one who can cause them harm. Christ has always been Lord, but the Christians acknowledge him from their deepest being, hence the expression “in your hearts”. This here does not mean they have acknowledged him as Lord only privately, as if Peter is speaking about the inability of outsiders to look into our hearts. Rather, Peter is speaking about how Christians worship Christ as Lord even from the very core of their souls. After all, if that is true, then that belief would translate into visible action, and that in turn will spark questions from outsiders for the hope they have.
In today’s context, we are not talking about persecution from human enemies per se, but an oppression from an invisible enemy, a coronavirus. The question for us, then, is this. Are we displaying gospel hope even in the face of Covid-19? Is that hope visible to those around us, on our WhatsApp channels, on our Facebook and Instagram pages, in our Skype and Zoom meetings? And are we prepared to explain why we do not fear Covid-19, but revere Christ instead? Let’s be ready to give testimony to our Lord, who has beaten death and given us an inheritance that cannot be taken away by stock market crashes or job losses. Let’s speak of the day of salvation, and offer it to all those who have yet to taste it.
- Pray that we will be ready, and to have an opportunity (perhaps even to try to create one ourselves), to share the reason for the hope that we have.
- Pray for all those suffering job losses, loss of income, and uncertain futures as a result of the economic fallout from Covid-19.