Written by Michael Kelley
One of the exhortations we find in 1 Peter 3:13-22 is to be ready:
“Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
For the Christian, “readiness” is our daily posture. We are to live ready for Christ to return. We are to live ready to seize opportunities for God’s kingdom. And in this passage, we are to be ready to give a defense when people ask us about our hope. But implicit in the readiness we are commanded to have in this passage is the assumption that people are indeed going to ask us about the hope we have.
In other words, Peter assumes that the Christian will be living in such a way that people are going to ask the question. And therein lies the rub for many of us. For many of us, we aren’t asked the question about our hope very much or very often, which should cause us to ask a simple but important question:
While we might be concerned that we don’t have the right information or the proper eloquence or the appropriate apologetic for talking about Jesus, we might be more concerned about whether our lives are actually generating the kind of questions that prompt conversations about our hope in Christ. And if we dig a little deeper, we might be forced to conclude that we aren’t getting the question because our lives aren’t any different than the rest of the world.
In Peter’s day, there was a clear delineation between those inside and outside of the faith, because he was writing to a group of Christians who knew what it meant to be under the thumb of persecution. Much of this letter is devoted to this cause, helping those in the faith be prepared to react in a Christ-honoring way when they are mistreated. For those Christians, it would have been a powerful testimony to the source of their hope when they were unjustly accused, unfairly treated, and unrightly punished. Peter encouraged these Christians to not see this treatment as a tragedy, but instead an opportunity, for it was a chance to display the greater hope that they had in Christ which could never be taken away.
Though you or I might not experience this same kind of treatment today, we nevertheless live under the same command to live in such a way that prompts questions about our hope. We live under the same compulsion when the suffering comes, or the job is lost, or the disease runs rampant, to view these circumstances as an opportunity for the truth of the gospel to shine through. For its during these times, when the darkness starts to close in, that the true light of Jesus becomes even brighter.