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Holding the Hope

• Greg Boyd

In our world today, we are exposed to so many things that can cause us to be worried or anxious. Yet, in Christ we have hope that this life is not all that there is. In Christ we can have hope and know that he can bring peace into our lives, even in the midst of living within a terrifying and hopeless world. As believers in Christ, we have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within us to help us live out Christ’s hope to those who fear in this world. Like Simeon, we know that God keeps his promises, and that he has revealed his son, Jesus, to redeem all humanity and to give us peace.

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In our world today, we are exposed to so many things that can cause us to be worried or anxious. Yet, in Christ we have hope that this life is not all that there is. In Christ we can have hope and know that he can bring peace into our lives, even in the midst of living within a terrifying and hopeless world. As believers in Christ, we have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within us to help us live out Christ’s hope to those who fear in this world. Like Simeon, we know that God keeps his promises, and that he has revealed his son, Jesus, to redeem all humanity and to give us peace.

Simeon was a righteous and devout man. He believed and waited for the consolation of Israel. The consolation of Israel was based on the belief that God promised that he would restore Israel, and bring them out of bondage. The day of consolation was always associated with the coming of a “Messiah”, one who would deliver Israel from their bondage (see Isaiah 40-66).
During Simeon’s time, it would have been very easy to give up hope in the coming of the promised Messiah. For hundreds of years, the Israelites were oppressed and enslaved. When Christ came into the world, Roman rule over Israel was intense and often brutal. Many Israelites either gave up hope, or resorted to delivering Israel by violence or through religion.

In contrast, Simeon was different. He held on to the hope that God would keep his promise and that he would send a “Messiah”. Simeon knew, while holding the baby Jesus, that God had kept his promise and that the Messiah had indeed arrived. He was consoled while holding Jesus, because he knew that the consolation was coming. He had peace in his heart, not because he saw the consolation, but that he saw the One who can bring hope.

Today, it is easy to get pessimistic and feel hopeless about the way the world looks. Much like in Simeon’s time, there are so many things to fear and it’s honest to ask the question, “Where’s the hope?” As in Simeon’s day, many today either despair, living shallow secular lives in the here and now, or by placing hope in programs, politics or even in religion. It is important to remember that the hope of the world is not based in any of these, rather it’s in the one whom Simeon held in his arms, Jesus.
Like Simeon, we can live and die in peace because our hope is in a sovereign God. He ultimately is in control and has kept his promise by sending his Son. If we trust in Christ, there is a peace that comes which passes all understanding. Christ consoles us and tells us to not lose hope, rather to trust in him, and have faith and confidence in who he is (John 14:1). No matter what the current circumstances are or will be, in Christ we do not need to be afraid, worried or anxious (Matthew 6). Our hope is in Christ!

As believers in Christ, we have a hope that is not based on this world, but in a world to come where God’s consolation will be fully revealed. We are promised eternal life with God where there is no fear or pain, rather an unspeakable joy! So are we just supposed to just passively wait until we die? No. Like Simeon, we do not wait passively, rather we are moved by and are obedient to the leading of Holy Spirit. Simeon knew who God was and wanted others to know of this hope, and that the consolation was coming. As Kingdom of God people, God also desires to use us to make known to others his hope and consolation.

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Topics: Fear, Hope


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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 2:25-32

    Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
    "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
    you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
    For my eyes have seen your salvation,
    which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
    a light for revelation to the Gentiles
    and for glory to your people Israel."

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