"One of the great themes of Christianity is triumphant hope. Not just hope as in a distant, vague dream, but TRIUMPHANT hope, the kind of hope where all things end right. In the midst of the struggles and the storms and suffering of life, we can advance our thoughts beyond today and see relief....triumph...victory. Because, in the end, God does indeed win" (Charles Swindoll).
I focused this month on prophecies of Jesus’ death and resurrection (Facebook, Twitter, Google+). As Passover and Resurrection Sunday ended, my focus shifted for the rest of the month. The fulfillment of prophecy didn’t end with Jesus’ resurrection; He has more to do. Here’s the connection – the fact that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of His death and resurrection are our guarantee that He will fulfill the prophecies of His second coming, millennial kingdom, and final judgment.
Jesus never taught on hope
Jesus’ fulfillment of these future prophecies completes our hope! And yet, Jesus never taught on hope. Does that surprise you? It did me.
Jesus – every part man and every part God – sees the whole picture without the limits of time. For Him, the certainty of the fulfillment of prophecy was as sure as the soil upon which His feet walked. As absolute as His role in the creation of that soil. Present, past, future – He sees them all.
Jesus’ teaching “is delivered in the language of One to whom the realities of the next world and of the future are perfectly familiar; the tone is not that of prediction so much as it is that of the statement of obvious facts. In other words, ‘hope’ to Christ is ‘certainty,’ and the word ‘hope’ is never on His lips” (ISBE).
Hope isn’t a distant, vague dream; through Jesus, hope is realized - completed - finished - fulfilled.
What is our hope?
Jesus' fulfilled prophecy at His first coming; this gives us an absolute hope for the fulfillment of still future prophecies. So, for what do we hope?
Our hope is…
- For God to be glorified (Romans 5:1-5)
- For creation and our own bodies to be set free from decay (Romans 8:20-24)
- To reflect the glory of God (2 Corinthians 3:7-18)
- A calling God wants us to know (Ephesians 1:18)
- Stored up for us in heaven (Colossians 1:5)
- The message of the gospel (Colossians 1:22-23)
- Salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8)
- Eternal life (Titus 1:2-3)
- The second coming of Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13)
- Alive (1 Peter 1:3)
- Grace (1 Peter 1:13)
- In God (1 Peter 1:21)
- Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 1:1)
Hope in the Battle
From Jesus’ timeless perspective, it may have been easy to see the certainty of future hope. It’s not always so easy for us. Here are a few helps from Scripture to make hope a greater reality in your life.
Hope protects our mind & thoughts
“But since we belong to the day, we must be serious and put the armor of faith and love on our chests, and put on a helmet of the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8).
A helmet guards the head and the mind. Our mind is how we understand the world around us; with it, we utilize wisdom and discernment. Our mind helps us to make a judgment or maintain determination. Like a helmet, hope in Christ protects our understanding, thoughts, and purpose. Hope helps us to look at a battle, discern the truth, and see the victory. When we lose focus on the hope before us – the hope of His future fulfillment of prophecy – our thoughts steer us off course.
Hope is a requirement for action
“Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be serious and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).
We prepare our mind for action by remaining calm and collected (serious) and by focusing on our hope. Keep your thoughts focused on the hope of what lies ahead; doing so helps us keep the battles of this life in perspective. Then we can take effective action rather than lose control in a response based entirely on our emotions.
Hope can do the job
“But honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
Once hope is protecting our mind, thoughts, and understanding… Once we have prepared our mind for action through our hope… Then, hope is ready to do its job in the battle. Hope doesn’t fly off on irrational, emotional appeals. A prepared mind provides a logical understanding for why we hope as we do although it does so with gentleness and respect.