Today, we kick off a brand new series titled Hope For Today.
I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend with your family and friends, and you had time to relax. This past week, I spent time with my family to celebrate my brother’s birthday and an early Easter.
Over the past week, we heard about Jesus’ journey to the cross, His death, and His resurrection after three days in the grave. Jesus is our source of hope.
For the past year, our lives have been consumed by all things COVID. No matter where you are in the world, your life has been affected by COVID. Just over 131.1 million people have contracted the virus, while 2.8 million people didn’t spend Easter with their families because they lost their lives to the virus.1
As human beings, our hearts go out to all the families and loved ones who lost people during the year – whether to COVID or something else – here today and gone tomorrow.
Our world seems to lack hope.
Matthew 12:15-21 says,
“Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. He warned them not to tell others about him. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope.”2
Jesus came for the Jews first, but He also came for you and me, who are not Jews. One commentary puts it this way,
“No one of any nationality had any hope apart from him. And he was taking his message of hope to all the nations, not just chosen Israel.”3
As I reflect on the past year, we have been rocked by religious liberties, racial tension and injustice, gender equity, and political upheaval, at least here in the United States.
The divide that has surfaced seems to have divided us even further down party lines. That’s not what Jesus would want or what He came for. Simply put, Jesus came for you and me.
He is our hope.
We have hope in a future that we cannot see. Hope for our churches, our relationships, and our nations.
I don’t know where you land on all the issues listed above, but I care deeply about relationships. I may not agree with all of my friends on all the issues above; in fact, it’s probably a safe bet that I do not; however, I don’t want to lose my friends over these issues.
During the 2020 election, Andy Stanley interviewed Sarah Bauer Anderson, who had just released a new book titled The Space Between Us. She is the daughter of a former presidential candidate who guides readers on navigating the tight conversational waters that exist within families, especially when it comes to politics and religion.
She shares how many families are divided by politics and religion and end up cutting all ties with their families over this issue. She encourages an open dialog on these issues.
Recently, I began reading Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho. We are going through his YouTube series at work, and it has opened my eyes to even greater degrees of divide in our nation.
When I read both of these books, my heart sinks a little deeper because our world is screaming for hope, but we can’t find, or we choose to ignore, the greatest hope ever given to us – Jesus Christ.
During Holy Week – we explored what was so good about Good Friday. The simple answer is Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Jesus is the hope we seek.
We have lost sight of this, which is not a condemnation to the lost, the seeking, the searching, or the saved. It’s just the truth as I see it. When we value our politics over our relationships, we have lost sight of a few things.
Matthew 12:21 says,
“In his name the nations will put their hope.”
This verse is comforting. No matter how dark it may get, our hope rests with Jesus. The Jews missed Jesus come the first time as their Messiah, but there will be no mistake when Christ comes again.
Jesus' name will be broadcast so the world may hear it and respond. As difficult as the pandemic has been, hundreds of thousands, and maybe even millions of people, realized they needed a Savior and turned to Christ and accepted Him.
The pandemic is a tragedy, and I am not downplaying that for one second. I have known people who contracted it and lived, as well as the reverse. But…without the pandemic, it is possible that those people who gave their lives to Christ might never have done so without the pandemic.
God uses all things, all people, and all situations for His will to be done, and He wants all people to be a part of His family.
Jesus is our hope for today and the future. What we are experiencing today – this turmoil and strife are temporal.
The only thing we are guaranteed is today. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. And with 100% certainty, we are all going to die unless Christ comes back before our appointed time.
Our goal, as believers, should be to guide people into a relationship with Jesus before it is too late.
Lord, thank you for the words from Matthew that were foretold long before their writing and long before our lifetime. Please help us to fix our eyes on You and to place our hope in You. Amen!
- The Space Between Us – Sarah Bauer Anderson (book)
- Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man – Emmanuel Acho (book)
- YouTube series
- https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html ↩︎
- Isaiah 42:1-4 ↩︎
- Weber, S. K. (2000). Matthew (Vol. 1, p. 175). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers. ↩︎
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