Who Needs Hope?

     The old preachers would always remind us that Biblical hope is not just desire but desire plus expectation. The old song says “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Paul wrote of things that would last forever in 1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now abide faith, hope and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Without doubt we know the greatness of love but none of us want to live without hope.

Alexander Pope famously said that “hope springs eternal in the human breast.” He had in mind the natural optimism most of us have about life. In terms of spiritual optimism we have a sure and steady foundation: Jesus Christ. This hope is an anchor for our souls (Hebrews 6:13-20.) Our Lord has experienced all that life and death have to offer. His life, teaching and resurrection are the foundations of our desire for and expectation of a home in Heaven after a while.

     That God would send His Son to die for us is a marvelous thing to consider. And He did die. But He also lived here in this material world just as we have to do. He knows with experiential precision the joys and heartaches of human existence. “He was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Now, we do not expect to be able to live without sin. Indeed we know we cannot because we know ourselves and what the Book says. “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23). But we also know the Lord was here and He understands. We can therefore “come boldly to the throne of grace” because we know Jesus is there. This is real hope.

     Jesus lived here and He taught here. I remember the first time I read the book of John and then the Sermon on the Mount (from Matthew 5, 6, and 7). I was 28 at the time and I had come to know the way I was living was not going to work long term. So I was looking. The compact and powerful way the Lord taught was compelling to me as I know it has been to many other searchers. “Love one another” He said (John 13:34). Don’t do your good works to be seen by others (Matthew 6:1). Be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16). He also said “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make your free” (John 8:32). I have learned other things but it was His teaching that gave me hope.

     The hope we have in Jesus is not an empty yearning. It is hope proven. The proof is the Lord’s resurrection (1 Corinthians 15). “Over 500 brethren at once” saw the risen Lord. Had He not come from the grave there would be no Christianity and no church. But He did. And thus we have what we all desperately need: hope.