A Lively Hope
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. –
I Peter 1:3
The Apostle Peter begins this verse with praise, “Blessed be” – praise be to God for His abundant mercy and the “lively hope” given to us because of the glorious resurrection of Jesus, our Messiah, from the dead.
The word in the Greek for lively is zao (dzah-o) which means, “To live, breathe, be among the living, not lifeless, not dead.” In other words, zao is the exact opposite of that which is lifeless or dead.
The King James translators chose the word “lively” as the English equivalent for the Greek zao. Some translations use the word “living” instead. However, that which is living can be alive, yet motionless, or inactive. The word “lively” suggests something that is alive, yet has movement, and is active.
We try to imagine the exhilarating joy that Peter and the other apostles experienced when they witnessed their resurrected Lord for the first time and realized that death had been vanquished. Their hope was indeed lively and invigorating, as is our hope in Jesus is today. It is a twirling, dancing, pirouetting, skipping, leaping, celebrating, joyful, exuberant hope that cannot remain motionless or inactive. This hope propels us into the streets to share the Good News with others, joyfully compelling them to join in the dance and partake of the celebration of the gift of eternal life that frees us from the bondage and fear of death.
Our hope is indeed lively and was never designed to be contained within the walls of a church building. How beautiful upon the mountains are the dancing feet of those who publish peace and share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others!
Copyright 2013 by H. D. Shively