May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 ESV
When God chose a people for himself, the Israelites from the family of Abraham, the rumors now had a concrete family line from which the Promised One would come. Every Israelite boy or girl would have grown up hearing, memorizing even, the stories of the Messiah. Generations after God’s promise to make Abraham’s family into a mighty nation, the Hebrew people ironically found themselves under an oppressive Roman thumb. They were not a free people any longer, and things were quickly regressing to the days of Egyptian slavery. How could a good God who loves his sons and daughters allow this to happen?
Enter Jesus of Nazareth. Healing. Freeing people of demons, preaching that the Kingdom of God was coming. The Messiah had come to save, and many were putting their faith in him. But while Jesus’ ministry was exploding all over Israel with true salvation and freedom, many of his countrymen, in fact the majority at the time, failed to see the global perspective Christ’s entering coming to live among his people. Nationalism had replaced a God-centered heart for the world coming to know God. The promise made to Abraham that he would be a father of many nations had all but been forgotten.
When Jesus enters Jerusalem in the final week before his crucifixion and resurrection, anticipation of freedom from Roman oppression was at an all time high. All of their hopes of a military King riding into town to save the day, however, were almost immediately wrecked. Jesus enters on a donkey, a sign of a king coming in peace not to make war, in an incredibly anti-climactic (if you were a Jew) means of declaring that a new type of Kingdom was announcing its claim on the hearts of men and women across the world. While their hope for a military overthrow of occupied Jerusalem was growing, Jesus had been declaring a new kind of hope – one focused on the eternal victory of the Kingdom of God and his glory being proclaimed throughout the world…and hope was rising.
Today, as the gospel reminds us of our brokenness and sinfulness, the good news of Jesus Christ’s victory over sin and death blossoms like a flower breaking through cold and crusty in the first days of Spring. We come from a long line of believers who have trusted in Jesus and his claim on their lives, regardless of the cost. Our hope is on things unseen, future oriented, yet available and tangible to our lives today. We believe that across the world, Hope is Rising. Christ is coming. He is Risen. He is Risen, indeed.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Jesus, may our hope rise in you that we may abound in joy and peace! Amen!