Our lord and savior Jesus Christ is alive and well. He speaks to you and me today just as easily as he spoke to Peter and Paul 2,000 years ago. He especially enjoys speaking to us through the words of the Bible. That’s why he calls us Christians every day to live as a people of hope; that is, as a people who read the Bible each day with the lively expectation that Jesus will again speak through it and enable us to discern, affirm, and share his truth, love, and vitality.
I once knew a man who was the first black to be elected to his town’s council. As a councilor he rightfully questioned a status quo that unfairly favored white neighborhoods over black ones.
Some powerful white men chose to be dead set against him. They falsely accused him of committing three felonies. They gave him the choice of pleading guilty to lesser charges and resigning from the town council or risking conviction and being sent to prison for five years.
Our black brother in Christ chose to fight the false charges against him. He believed that Jesus Christ was on his side and that Christ’s arm was still not too short to save. The trial lasted two days. In the end, the jury chose to acquit him of all charges. He left the courthouse a free and vindicated man.
Later that evening at church, he shared a mighty song of praise to the Lord who continues to save his people from their enemies. His words were just the sort of thanksgiving we find in Psalm 98 (1-3a, English Standard Version):
for he has done marvelous things!
His right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
2 The Lord has made known his salvation;
he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
Our brother in Christ was able to defy the falsehood and indifference of local powers because he was a man of hope. Jesus had given him the joyful confidence that he was with him and would not abandon him in his time of need.
May we too live as a people of hope in Christ. May we too affirm with joyful confidence that God remains for us, with us, and in us no matter what.
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