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A living hope in testing times


1 Peter 1:3-9 (https://www.biblegateway.com NRSVA)
This passage is one of the few places in the New Testament which seems to allude to another New Testament book. Verse 8, where the writer says, ‘Although you have not seen him, you love him,’ brings to mind Jesus’ parting words to Thomas in John’s Gospel (20.29). That’s why it’s included alongside the same Gospel passage in last Sunday’s lectionary.
However, the relevance of this passage to our current situation is also striking. The readers are asked to ‘rejoice’ that they ‘are protected by the power of God… even if now for a little while [they] have had to suffer various trials.’ The writer doesn’t suggest that the readers will be protected from harm or from trials, only that they will be brought through the trials ‘into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, ….ready to be revealed in the last time.’
So what is the guarantee that God is able to protect us, even if we are ‘tested [in the] fire’ of suffering? The writer says, ‘The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead’ is the one thing that can give us ‘a new birth into a living hope’. That is the new birth which Mary Magdalene, Thomas and the other disciples experienced after the first Easter Day.

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