You’ve probably heard it said that, as Christians, we have hope. We speak of hope to encourage each other during times of death and sorrow. We sing about hope in worship; “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Not too long ago, the word hope was infused into popular vernacular during the 2008 presidential race as then Senator Barack Obama adopted it as a primary element of his campaign promise for “hope and change”.
Webster’s dictionary defines hope as “a feeling of expectation and a desire for a certain thing to happen,” but I’d propose it’s more than that. Do we truly understand the nature of hope as Christians? Or is it just another buzzword that we use as part of our “Christianese” language?
As I’ve been reading through this week’s lesson quarterly, I contemplated a phrase from Monday: “Expectant hope finds its radical fulfillment in Jesus.” The author’s use of the adverb “radical” is what stopped me, as it was the perfect use of a word that is so often misused. The origin of the word radical comes from the Latin, radicalis, meaning, “from the root” or “inherent”. If we substitute the second definition into the sentence, it reads: “Expectant hope finds its inherent fulfillment in Jesus.” I don’t know about you, but I find that concept to be so incredibly powerful! The apostle Peter clearly understood this when he wrote: “…He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:3b, emphasis mine).
Hope for the Christian needs to go beyond our expectations and our desires, which are at best finite and limited. Instead, our hope as Christians should be external—hope should reach beyond ourselves with a recognition of our inability to accomplish anything meaningful on our own. It should be rooted instead in our faith in the person of Jesus, referred to above as “the living hope.”
Let’s face it, life can be tough. Most of us can relate to personal loss, unmet expectations, financial difficulties, personal rejection and more. If our understanding of hope stops there—with us—we’re in real trouble. Thankfully, scripture gives us a clear picture of what hope should look like. The what is actually a Who—the resurrected Christ, who is promised to be our Rock when fear and doubt have permeated our lives.
The psalmist wrote: “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you” (Psalm 39:7). As Christians, that’s right where our hope should be—in Jesus. As long as He lives (which is eternally), our hope is in Him and rests with Him.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://spencervillechurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/jas-headshot.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Jason Lombard is the Associate Pastor for Administration, Media and Communications at Spencerville Church in Silver Spring, Maryland. On Twitter? Follow Jason @jasonrlombard.[/author_info] [/author]