Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hebrews 12:2-3 and the Need for Hope

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls." (Hebrews 12:1-3; NKJV)
I was thinking about Hebrews 12:2-3 recently, prompted by a sermon I listened to on Isaiah 60. It is amazing to realise that Jesus needed hope. It was because of the "joy that was set before him" that Jesus was able to endure the cross and all the hostility from sinners that he suffered. At times we can get so familiar with the idea that Jesus is 100% God, that we forget that he is also 100% human. In his perfect humanity, Jesus needed hope to enable him to endure all the adversity that he experienced. Sometimes some of us might think that we don't really need that thing called "hope". We might say that "duty" is enough, that God's "bare command" is enough. We can and should just keep on keeping on, just because we should. But God doesn't think it is enough. Jesus needed hope and so do we. To hope is to be human. I'm sure we can always benefit from a fresh recovery of the Biblical concept of hope, of looking forward to the good things God has in store for us in the future, so that we can endure the various tough times we experience in the here and now. The NT abounds with expressions of hope, especially of that day when Jesus returns, all are resurrection, and there is a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. No more sin, and perfect dwelling with God forever. This is not just pie in the sky wishful thinking, but Biblical reality. Thank God for the perfect hope we have in Christ, who is "our hope" (1 Timothy 1:1)!

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