“A Heart of Hope”

Luke 2:25  25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

 Luke 24:21 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel…

The Christmas season is upon us.  For the next few weeks, our hearts and worship will turn to a focus on the incarnation of Christ.  The incarnation represents the “en-fleshing” of the eternal Son of God.  He took on full-orbed humanity, both His inner man and outer man.  This was to fully identify with us – Adam’s fallen race.  He willingly became self-limited to space and time, to growth, to human fatigue, and ultimately to death.  Jesus was made man ultimately to die for the sin of mankind.  The incarnation represents those realities of His first coming.

For many Jewish believers at that time, their existence was a long, dark, sad season of life.  They were occupied by the Romans.  They were poor.  They were heavily and unfairly taxed.  Their own Jewish government was limited by Rome and was corrupted morally.  Even the priesthood and Temple had become corrupted with greed.  But among them were those who hoped in the Messiah’s coming.  And – in their generation – He came!

Consider the hope of Simeon in Luke 2.  By divine relation, he was assured that he would see the Messiah.  When he does, he holds the baby and exclaims to God, “For my eyes have seen Your salvation…!” (Luke 2:30)  For most of them, they hadn’t comprehended the distinction between His first coming and second coming.  So, when Jesus died, their hope was initially disappointed.  We hear this sentiment from the two disciples walking on the road to Emmaus, “But we had hoped that He was the one to redeem Israel…” (Luke 24:21)  Their hope is revitalized when they realize His resurrection.

The church today awaits His second coming.  In this sense we are like that generation of faithful Israelites.  We are in a long, dark, sad season of life in many respects.  The god of this world continues to blind the minds of the unbelieving (2 Cor. 4:4).  The nations continue to rage, plot and scheme against God and His Messiah (Psalm 2:1-3).  Our governments are corrupt.  It seems that the growing hostility toward God and Truth are becoming universal.  Should we lose hope in our returning Messiah?

No.  Jesus will come again, as He did before.  As the angels assured the shepherds of His first arrival (Luke 2:9), angels also assured the apostles of His second coming.  Acts 1:11  11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”  This is where our hope lies in these dark days.  Like the Jewish believers of old, we cling to the same promises.  Messiah will come again in glory and will establish God’s glorious kingdom on earth.  I pray that this Christmas, the reality of His first coming will bolster your hope in His second coming.  When He returns, He will make things right.  He will make things good.  He will make things the way they ought to be.

Thanks! See you Sunday,

Pastor Dave

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