Psalm 71:14, Acts 12
“As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.” Psalm 71:14
Rhoda rose to answer the knock on the outside gate of the house. She had been in a prayer meeting along with her master and many others. With the news that their leader, Peter, had been thrown into jail, they knew his death was imminent. Rhoda asked who was at the door, and was astonished to hear Peter’s voice! Herod’s track record of persecuting Christians was what seemed to be an inescapable reality. There was no way she heard Peter’s voice, he was most likely dead, but she knew that voice...it was Peter. Rhoda rushed back into the house to inform the others, leaving Peter standing outside. As she explained who had arrived, no one believed her and came to the conclusion that it must be his angel. Peter kept knocking at the door, and finally they opened the door and saw for themselves. It truly was Peter! An angel of the Lord had led him out of jail, and Peter was alive and free!
Have you ever found yourself in a situation like the prayer group in Acts 12? We don’t know what exactly Rhoda and her friends were praying about, but it is likely that Peter’s situation was heavy on their hearts as they prayed that evening, having been earnestly in prayer for him (Acts 12:5). Knowing the outcome of Christians captured by Herod, maybe their prayers shifted from “Lord, save Peter from the hand of Herod,” to “Lord, use his death for your glory.” Only God knows the details of their prayer life, but we do know the prayer group responded to Rhoda’s excitement with disbelief, and they were amazed to see that Peter was actually alive and with them.
The hope that had faded was renewed.
Have you ever prayed for a situation you felt was too far gone for any change to take place? Have there been times where you’ve grown weary in your days, forgetting the hope you have in Jesus? Maybe you are simply too tired to put any more effort into the situation that troubles you greatly, having cried all the tears and prayed all the prayers. Or maybe you can relate with Rhoda. You’ve prayed with hope and responded with joy to God’s work, only to be called crazy for your optimism. Let me encourage you. Even when hope seems to be lost, hope is with you.
Perhaps one of the most qualified witnesses to share about the hope of Jesus is Peter himself. To readers trying to make sense of persecution because of their faith in Christ, Peter wrote “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
For Peter, hope was not a distant memory, but a living reality.
Hope is alive because Jesus is alive. Because Jesus could not be conquered by death, then hope cannot be conquered by death. Jesus is hope.
As a result, Peter claims, “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9). In other words, the end result of faith in Christ through a journey of persecution, heartbreak, and brutal testing is salvation. We have every reason to claim the living hope of Jesus against our adversary. Furthermore, we have every reason to respond in praise to God for every situation, because Jesus is victorious over our greatest fears, failures, and undesirable circumstances.
Psalm 71:14 says, “As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.”
If you are a child of God, may it be said of you that you are also a child of hope. You don’t just have future glorification in Christ to hope for, you have a living, active, and eternal hope in Jesus to claim right now.