1 Peter 3:14-15 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord 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,
Picture this text as a sandwich, with a piece of bread on top, then a piece of meat, and underneath another piece of bread almost like the first one.
- The top piece of bread says, “Don’t be afraid of your adversaries, don’t be troubled.”
- The bottom piece of bread says, “Always be ready to make a case for the hope you feel inside.”
Now compare these two pieces of bread. The top piece says, “Don’t be afraid.” But in order not to be afraid you have to have some reason to be hopeful. The bottom piece says, “Be ready to make a case for your hope.” But in order to make a case for your hope, you have to have some reason to be hopeful. In other words, both of these pieces of bread are commanding us to do the same thing: namely, do what we need to do to have our hearts brimming with hope instead of fear.
And I think it is the meat sandwiched between these two pieces of bread that tells us what we must do in order to be hopeful persons instead of fearful persons. And that is: Reverence the Lord Christ in our hearts. How shall you not fear when the path of righteousness seems to lead only into darkness? Answer: Reverence the Lord Christ in your heart, and your fear will be replaced with hope. How shall you always be ready to make a case for your hope? Answer: Reverence the Lord Christ in your heart, and you will always have a reason to give for why you are hopeful.