There is Hope in Jesus
Today, our lesson is this. There is hope in Jesus. You are probably expecting us to go to one of the stories about Jesus found in the gospel books, Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. Instead, we are going way back 100’s of years earlier to the book of Isaiah Chapter 7.
About the Story
Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus’ birth. The four weeks leading up to Christmas are Advent, a time when Christians remember all of the stories and prophecies that led to Jesus’ birth.
Now, for our listeners who may not know what the word prophecy means, it most commonly is used to refer to a prediction. Prophets, men and women of God, would speak predictions or prophecies about something. There are many prophecies about the birth of Jesus in scripture.
A little context for us all. The Roman Empire had conquered much of the known world at this point, including Israel and Judah. The Romans forced all nations to pay tribute or a tax to the Roman Empire; this made the Romans very unpopular with the non-Romans.
That’s right. There were certain rights Roman Citizens had that a non-citizen did not have. For instance, citizens could vote, not have to pay some of the local taxes, have the right to hold a political position, and have the right to a fair trial in a court of law and defend themselves.
Not only that, but Roman Soldiers could force a jew or any other foreigner to carry their bag or other belongings for a mile. There were considerable benefits to being a Roman citizen and a massive disadvantage if you were not.
Needless to say, the Jews hated the Romans and were eagerly awaiting the prophecies about a coming Messiah who they thought would overthrow the Romans and set Israel free!
Now, this is important for us to remember. The Jews were looking for a military and political leader who would be the Messiah. Even Jesus’ disciples right up to his death were thinking that Jesus was going to overthrow the occupation of the Roman Empire somehow. Jesus did not meet their expectations of what a Messiah would be.
Okay, so a good response to God will lead us to experience hope because of Immanuel – Jesus, God with us! If we have a poor response to God, and we are going to experience worry and fear. It begs the question, how do we respond well to God?Tweet
Which brings us back to our lesson today. There is hope in Jesus.
It’s not quite that simple; if it were, hope would have filled King Ahaz. We can find hope in a relationship with Jesus providing that we respond well to Him.
And if we don’t respond well to Christ, what then?
Isaiah Chapter 7 describes king Ahaz as a person who was fearful and worried. And, that was before Isaiah predicted even greater destruction to Judah!
Okay, so a good response to God will lead us to experience hope because of Immanuel – Jesus, God with us! If we have a poor response to God, and we are going to experience worry and fear. It begs the question, how do we respond well to God?
Great question. I think we humbly submit our lives to him. That involves a big decision, and it also involves modelling our lives around the character of God.
I still can’t get over how much hope and good King Ahaz didn’t receive because of his poor response. I mean, Immanuel means God with us. Where are you going to find more hope than in Immanuel – Jesus.
It’s Crazy! It is easy to see in hindsight. We can see the two opposite paths that Ahaz faced, and we recognize that he chose the wrong one!