Please read Romans 15: 8-13
Along with anticipation, Advent in the Scriptures personifies hope! As believers we need hope today more than ever as we live in very difficult times. The memory of what happened in Ferguson, USA, was difficult to erase from our memories, and it happened again…. I was so disturbed today as I read the news of another white cop not indicted by the local grand-jury for the brutal lynching of a Black man. He was father of six young children. It happened in July 2014 in broad day light on a street in New York while a bystander recorded it live on his cellphone camera. Events such as these and the images of heavily armed police crushing peaceful protesters with all their might continue to haunt us as we prepare to celebrate Christmas in a few days. What could Advent mean for us in such times as we live in today?
To a heart full of angst and anxiety, the Scripture spoke from Romans 15: 8-13. To be honest, I don’t really see or recognize hope when we look around us today. I’m pretty sure; many of you feel the same. This may lead us to feel sad, angry, and frustrated. However, my friends, this is alright to go into Advent with these very feelings that you and I have. This way, we actually could find our kinship with the Hebrews who received the good news of the coming Messiah. The Jewish people not only anticipated, but literally cried out for the Redeemer to come and deliver them and make things alright in their world. This hope of the coming Messiah would bring hope not just for the Jews but also for the Gentiles…for the whole world. As the prophet proclaimed (Romans 15: 12; cf. Isaiah 11: 10 ESV)
“And again Isaiah says,
‘The root of Jesse will come,
even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
in him will the Gentiles hope.’”
It is this hope that gives me excitement and joy as I’m a Gentile like most of you are. I want us to be people of hope like the Jews before Jesus’ time. Life wasn’t easy for them either. Yet, as they read their Scriptures, they were filled with hopefulness and hoped in the coming Messiah against all odds. Let’s continue to hope for what we do not see yet. Let’s hope for the Second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s hope for the Kingdom of God to be fully realized. Let’s all hope for another prophecy of Prophet Isaiah (11:6 ESV) to become a reality in the Kingdom of God:
“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.”
Let me close with a prayer for us, in the words of Apostle Paul: “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).