The Hope of the World Revealed
As we enter a new year, it is clear that something our world could use is hope. Economic jitters, international tensions, as well day to day personal and family problems have cast a gloom that seems to have left no person or place untouched. This gloom has left many in need of hope.
I am writing this article on January 6 of the present year, 2009. This day is known as “Epiphany” on the Christian calendar. It’s a date that may not appear to have a lot of significance, but it should for any who are in need of hope, because this is a day to remember that God’s source of hope has been revealed to us.
The Day of Epiphany commemorates the arrival of the Magi in Bethlehem to worship Christ as the Messiah. The Magi were known as wise men. They studied the natural world, contemplated divine things, and, because of their expertise, served as counselors to kings.
How the Magi came upon the the Messiah is noteworthy: the way was revealed to them. The prophet Daniel had spoken of One coming who would set up a kingdom never to be destroyed (Dan.2:24). Then, according to God’s time, a star appeared to lead the Magi to this One (Mt.2:2).
God’s revelation to the Magi reminds us that it is by God’s gracious revelation to us that we find hope. It is not by our own reasoning and speculation that we are instilled with hope – but by receiving what God gives us with a believing heart. And the One God has revealed as the source of hope is Jesus, the morning star who brings assurance to the hearts of all who trust Him (2 Pet.1:19).
This hope that God has revealed is for the whole world.
The Magi were experts. They were the “go-to guys” for solving the problems of the day. But they knew they didn’t have all the answers. Yet they did have the wisdom to pursue what God had revealed, and in so doing they served as representatives of all who are in the world who are willing to receive the hope that God provides by bowing before His appointed King.
As you read through the New Testament, you find that Jesus is displayed as God’s hope for us in other ways too.
When Jesus was baptized (Mk.1:9-11), He fulfilled all righteousness, thereby pleasing the Father. This pertains to us because it is as we live by faith in Christ that we please the Father, and He receives us as righteous.
When Jesus experienced His transfiguration (Lk.9:28ff.), the glory of God was revealed through Him. In this Jesus discloses that true, eternal glory is realized as we live in union with Him.
As Christ was born to bring hope to this world, the Spirit calls us to make Him our hope. We are not to be like those who reject God’s revelation and trust in their own righteousness while pursuing their own glory. We are to receive in faith what God has revealed to us.
In this we have hope. A hope that does not disappoint.