Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our Hope. (1 Timothy 1:1)
Upon hearing that some Galileans had been murdered by Pilate in the Temple, and that a tower in Siloam (southeastern Jerusalem) had fallen and killed 15 people, Jesus uses this as an opportunity to teach. He tells them that, while those things didn’t happen to them because they were worse sinners than anyone else, it serves as a grim picture for God’s coming judgment on those who didn’t turn from their sinful ways to Jesus. Jesus illustrates this point further using a parable, with Israel being like a fig tree that’s had far too many chances to be fruitful and was close to being cut down. Later, as Jesus is teaching in the synagogue on he Sabbath, He liberates and heals a demon-oppressed woman of a severe spinal curvature that she’d had for 18 years, and rebukes the leader of the synagogue for caring more about their animals than a Jewish woman in spiritual bondage!
In our English language, the word hope has become rather weak and soft. It refers to wishful thinking or optimism. In the Bible, however, the word hope in Hebrew is yakhah/qavah (elpis in Greek), and it refers to waiting in tense expectation. Waiting for what, exactly? The full biblical definition of hope is to wait eagerly and expectantly for God to make things better than they are now based on His past faithfulness! In other words, because God was good then, He’ll be good now, and that’s our light in dark times.
Jesus, God in the flesh, is our living Hope! How so? His death and resurrection on our behalf make Him the only One who can save us from God’s holy, righteous judgment on our sin, which means He is our only hope for salvation; He’s the One that saves the fig tree from being cut down (Acts 4:12). He is the Hope of our future glory and place in the Kingdom because He’s sealed us with His Spirit (like the stamp at a carnival that lets you get on all the rides!), “the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). But even more than that, Jesus is our Hope for right here and now! Just like the Jewish woman who was in bondage to Satan, when we experience uncertainty, attacks from Satan, persecution, loss, etc., Jesus is our Rescuer, the One who strengthens and equips us to overcome.
So, what is the Lord calling me out on today? It seems like He’s leading me to not give in to the temptation of trusting in a program or degree or predetermined plan to prepare and launch me into ministry, but to hope in Him and His plan.
- As believers and disciples in the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope is no longer in social reform, or political parties, or financial gain. When times get tough, we don’t look to optimism or positive thinking to save us anymore; our Hope is a Person, a faithful, good, all-powerful Person by the name of Jesus. In trials and tribulations, when we’re tempted and driven to despair, we can still choose to rejoice, because we have a living, powerful Hope, our King and Savior.
Why are you downcast, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God. (Psalm 43:5)