Scientists tell us that we can live between 46-73 days without food and a little over a week without water. But the reality is that we cannot live a minute without hope.
One of the warmest images of the Christmas story for me happened on the day baby Jesus was brought by His parents into the temple…to present Him to the Lord (Luke 2:22). Of all the people in the Temple precincts that day, and there had to have been hundreds, maybe thousands, only two were living in hope.
In this instance they happened to be elderly people, in their 70’s or 80’s. One of them, named Simeon, had been living for years in the hope that God would save His people, Israel.
In fact, God had promised Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Christ. That hope filled Simeon’s heart and life and kept him going. He held on to the promise and in the end he did more than see… he held the Christ.
The other person living in hope that day was Anna, the prophetess and widow. She had been spending night and day in the temple precincts, in prayer and fasting for over 40 years, believing she would live to see the Messiah, the salvation of Israel.
When Anna saw the infant Jesus she announced the baby as the Christ to all who were gathered in the temple that day.
Simeon and Anna are an example to us of those who, in our aging, and even in our personal struggles, never lose the hope of the salvation of the Christ in our lives, our families and our day.
Hope is looking forward with a joyful and confident expectation of something good being possible.
* Hope’s orientation is towards the future.
* Hope’s attitude is joyful.
* Hope’s posture is confident.
* And hope’s object is something good.
Things may be going badly with your health right now, with your finances, or your family… but there is always hope that something good is possible.
There is only one problem.
For the most part, it is misplaced hope… because it is focused on things over which we have no control.
Misplaced hope is the reason the entire Jewish nation, except a few shepherds, two elderly prophets, and a few of foreign astronomers, missed the arrival of their promised Messiah.
The Jews called the Messiah they were waiting for “The Hope of Israel.”
But when Jesus was born… everyone in the nation except a small handful missed it.
Because at the time they were obsessed with the predicament they were in, and the focus of their hope was a Messiah who would…
Throw off Roman domination and restore the nation of Israel to the glory days of King David and Solomon.
*Cancel harsh taxation and bring economic relief.
*Restore the fortunes of the days when Israel was a world-dominating power.
*Bring healing for the diseases that was decimating the populous.
*Revive their national pride.
So, when Jesus was born in a lowly stable, in Bethlehem, to a carpenter’s family, from lowly community called Nazareth… they missed it except for Simeon and Anna!
The apostle Paul opens a letter to his young friend, Timothy, and says, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope…”
Why is Jesus our hope?
Because the most important elements of living and dying are found in Him.
*Forgiveness of sin.
* Deliverance from the power of sin.
* Adoption into the family of God.
* Peace with God.
* Joy everlasting.
* Living in the revealed presence of God.
* A life on earth with divine purpose and eternal consequences.
* A God who is at work in you and me to produce Christlikeness into us in every situation.
* Placement into family, the Body of Christ…the ones around you right here today.
* Eternity in His presence in the home Jesus said He was going to prepare for those who love Him.
No wonder the Psalmist David wrote, “Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love…” (Psalm 33:18)
Or Paul wrote, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)
Or the writer of Hebrews wrote, “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain…” (Hebrews 6:19)
Our hope is Jesus!
Jesus did not come to fulfill the American dream for you or me.
He did come to give us a hope far deeper and more important than anything money can buy.