Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.Hebrews 11:1
Hope has lost the original weight of its meaning. Now we say things like, “I hope it doesn’t rain again this weekend.” But in biblical times, hope held a much deeper significance. It means “joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation.”
Many prophets foretold the coming, or advent, of the Messiah, and the Israelites pinned their hopes—their confident expectation for salvation—on the long-awaited Messiah. Isaiah 40 foretells the coming of a Messiah who will comfort His people and establish justice. The Messiah will display the power of light over darkness and the triumph of good over evil.
In this hope, the Israelites anticipated a time of amazing worship, and we can likewise worship Jesus while looking forward to His second coming (see Psalm 122).
When the Messiah arrived as a baby in a manger in Bethlehem, many were shocked and did not believe that He could save Israel from their hardships—the oppression of the Romans (as Moses saved the Israelites from the oppression of the Egyptians thousands of years earlier, see Exodus 1-14).
For those looking for salvation from our current conditions (and who isn’t?) of pandemics, politics, and prejudice, our salvation might not look like what we think it should—just like the Jews of 2,000 years ago were sure the Messiah would arrive as a great and mighty King, not a tiny baby in a tiny town.
Today, we put our hope in the baby in the manger and our future hope in the second coming of the Messiah to save us from the oppressors of our current world.
While we don’t know the day or the hour, we do know that He will come to save us from the impending tribulation as foretold throughout the Scriptures “to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:28).
The Jews of Jesus’ day were hoping for salvation from the Romans. We Christians today are hoping that Jesus will bring judgment to right all the wrongs. Justice will prevail—if only at the final judgment.
We need to remember not to overlook the ordinary miracles and seemingly small moments of joy. In those things we will find our hope is truly a “steadfast anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19).
What are you hoping for this Advent season? Please share with me, so I can pray with you!