A Reason to Hope
Posted April 4, 2021
When we describe hope, we often describe it as looking on the bright side when in a precarious situation – when things are looking bleak. We would say that having hope is being able to see the light when in darkness. At the start of my sermon last week – The Debt We Owe – I said that there was both bitterness and sadness in my heart due to the ongoing anguish and suffering in our society. Yet, you will recall that I ended my sermon last week by saying that I still have hope. I still have hope because God is my reason to hope.
What Does Easter Mean to You?
What do you think of when you think of Resurrection Sunday — Easter? When I was little, Easter was about getting the Easter haircut, suit, and speech. I certainly cannot forget the Easter eggs (though, admittedly, I never ate those things) and the Easter baskets that were filled with candy and jelly beans. Of course now I am a few years older and my perspective has changed greatly.
When I think about Resurrection Sunday, I think of Jesus overcoming death and the grave and rising with all authority and power (Matt. 28:18). For me, Resurrection Sunday is a day of both faith and hope (I use both words interchangeably). I would tell anybody that Jesus’ resurrection should inspire.
Firstly, Jesus’ resurrection proves His deity as the only begotten Son of God – so it should inspire faith. Secondly, when we consider that He overcame death and the grave, and that He is Lord, then surely He can overcome anything. Then I consider that my faith is in Him – the one who can overcome anything – and because my faith is through Him then surely I can overcome anything as well! He is my reason to hope!
Now, I certainly understand that on this Easter Sunday, not everybody is filled with such belief – with such hope. I honestly cannot imagine trying to live in this world and not have hope. I can understand why some certainly feel hopeless in our world. As I mentioned last week, there is much struggle, anguish, and suffering in our world. Yet, living without hope is not good for us! So, I want to encourage you today to see the light in darkness – to have hope in the Lord.
God Is Our Hope
In my key verse today, we see Jesus talking about “the light”. We have seen Jesus referenced as the light of the world in scripture before. In John’s gospel, the apostle John calls Jesus the true Light (John 1:9). Jesus also proclaimed Himself to be the light of the world.
The light of the world
In John 8:12, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” As we saw in our last quarter of Sunday School, Jesus revealed to mankind the truth of God, His forgiveness, and His salvation. We know this light to be a spiritual light for the world. I believe that when God gave the world His only begotten Son, that He was giving us a light – a hope. A hope to be able to overcome the darkness, the world, and sin.
In John 11:9, again we will see Jesus speaking of walking in the day (the light) and the dangers of walking in darkness. He said, “if anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night (in the dark), he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” Jesus was telling His disciples that it is better to move with the light than to try to move without the light. This certainly makes sense literally but I want you to understand that this is true spiritually as well.
Jesus was speaking spiritually to us because we ourselves are spiritual beings. I always try to make it clear that we are more than this flesh. The reason I focus on us as spiritual beings is because everything we do begins in our spirit – our thoughts, our dreams, our actions all start in the spirit.
Take advantage of the light
What becomes very clear to us is that when Jesus speaks about walking in the light is that He desires for us to take advantage of having the light. Jesus desires that we move with hope in Him and that we take advantage of having the opportunity to move in that hope. Now, we can see this expressed in the passage of scripture that my key verse for today’s sermon is in – John 12:23-35.
In this passage of scripture, Jesus speaks of His looming death (John 12:27) and He specifically speaks of how He would die (John 12:32). Then we see my key verse, Jesus says, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you.” Jesus was going to be physically taken away from the disciples and the people.
Jesus was arrested, tried, and then hung on the cross. The light was physically removed from the world at that time. I want you to notice how the disciples reacted to the light being physically removed. When Jesus was arrested in the garden, when their source of hope was taken away, the disciples fled (Matt. 26:56).
In his moment of hopelessness, Peter denied Jesus three times (Matt. 26:69-75). At the cross, aside from John and the women, the disciples, without hope, again were not there. After His crucifixion, the disciples, still without their light and hope, were completely broken in their spirit. On the first day of the week, it were the women that first headed to the tomb and not the disciples. I say all of this to express that this is what hopelessness can do to us – hopelessness can paralyze us in our spirit which can keep us from moving forward.
Do Not Lose Heart
We live in a world that is constantly moving away from God. As I have said before, some applaud this move while others, at the same time, continue to lose hope. It absolutely scares me how many people are losing hope today because I worry about what they will do without hope. Jesus said, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you.”
He said that at a time when He was physically in the world. Jesus today has risen from the grave and lives! What this means is that His light is still ever present – there is still hope (light in the darkness). When Jesus rose from the grave, those same disciples that were paralyzed in hopelessness had their spirits renewed and their hope restored.
We will have times where we have our ups and down, that is life. Yet, this is what you ought to know: through the inner dwelling of the Holy Spirit, hope now dwells inside of all of those that genuinely believe – all we have to do is call on His name and be filled. None of us have to ever be paralyzed by hopelessness because the Light is still very much present in us through the Holy Spirit. It is my hope in the Lord that keeps me going day after day. I am absolutely certain that this hope is what can keep you going as well.