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A curious warning is given to us in Peter’s first letter. There he tells us to be ready to give the reason for the hope that lies within us to everyone who asks (3:15). Now, what is strange about that passage is this: no one ever asks.

Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor the Messiah the Master as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. [1]

1 Peter 3:13–17

When was the last time someone stopped you to inquire about the reason for the hope that lies within you? You are at the market, say, in the frozen food section. A friend you haven’t seen for some time comes up to you, grasps you by both shoulders and pleads, “Please, you’ve got to tell me. Be honest now. How can you live with such hope? Where does it come from? I must know the reason.” Has this ever happened to you? Under any circumstances? Anything any vaguely similar?

Yet God tells us to be ready, so what is wrong? To be blunt, nothing about our lives is worth asking about.

  • There is nothing intriguing about our hopes, nothing to make anyone curious.
  • Not that we do not have hopes; we do.
  • We hope we will have enough after taxes this year to take a summer vacation.
  • We hope our kids do not wreck the car.
  • We hope our favorite team goes to the World Series.
  • We hope our health does not give out, and so on.
  • Nothing wrong with any of those hopes; nothing unusual, either.

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Everyone has hopes like that, so why bother asking us? It is life as usual. Sanctified resignation has become the new abiding place of contemporary Christians. No wonder nobody asks.

Do you want the life of any Christian you know? Clearly it does not have to be that way. I do not want it that way for myself or my family. Jesus is in the business of turning despair into hope. Jesus is the “hope Master”. We must be people of hope. And we must be able to give an answer as to why we have such hope.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Pe 3:13–17.

 “Master Jesus the Messiah, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”