Re-Shaping Our Understanding of Hope

Andy Moore looks at the life-changing encounters people had with Jesus during his last days and how through those meetings we can reshape our understanding of hope for the world, hope for the grief we feel, and hope for the future.

So this week, we’re going take a look at a few of those encounters and see how meeting with Jesus has the power to reshape our understandings of hope for the world, hope for the grief we feel, and hope for the future.

So many of us base our lives on faint shadows of the way things really are. And I want to ask whether you have encountered the risen Jesus in your life, whether you have encountered a hope which even death cannot overcome.

Many are asking whether COVID-19 is God’s judgment on the earth. But the fullness of God’s judgment already fell on Jesus, at the top of a mountain we could never climb, called Calvary.

When God resurrected Jesus, it showed that He was on Jesus’ side vindicating the way He lived and died, but also on our side. God is not just able to comfort us in our suffering, God has protested powerfully against our suffering and won.

Make it personal:

  • How has your perception of human fragility and vulnerability changed in the past two months?

  • What difference does it make to how we live our lives knowing that God has “protested powerfully against our suffering and won”?

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Personally, the last two months have helped me to be more grateful for what we have - that life is precious and vulnerable and that every moment, relationship and opportunity is a gift. Psalm 103:15 As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field;.

This talk, these questions, and our current world situation have made me realise what ideas from history have been incorporated into my thinking. Particularly, the idea of Progress. Like most of us, I have grown up in and been taught by a culture that teaches that progress is everything, that our society is a reflection of progress through its technology, morals, health, knowledge and expectations. I listened to a talk very recently (I can’t remember which speaker right now) that highlighted that if we are engaging with the idea of progress, there must be something to which we are progressing - there must be an end goal in which we can mark off our progress towards. Listening to Andy’s talk makes me realise that humanity has made our end goal that of becoming gods. For me, I feel like Covid-19 is a heavy reminder that we will never reach that goal, that only God is God. It reminds me of so many stories through the Bible where mankind has attempted to set itself up as gods but fails. Right now, the virus is a reminder that we have failed in what we thought we were achieving. From it comes a stark reminder that in life there is trouble, fear and suffering.

However, God’s intervention of protesting powerfully against our suffering and winning the victory is exactly the sort of intervention we need. On the one hand, this situation has made us more aware of our mortality and vulnerability but it also makes us more aware of our need for an immortal and loving God. His act of stepping into the world and into our suffering with us so that we may know him eternally is brought to my mind with fresh perspective at this time.

Psalm 3 has been a great one for meditation this week - that David cries out to God in his suffering and adversity and then he says: But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. We have a hope in Christ whom we are able to turn to in the darkest moment. This has got to affect how we live our lives.

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Thinking as a unbeliever and not having any hope other than the Doctors and medical means around me, fear of death would have a field day with me and that is scary to think about.
Having faced literally the reality of death in my life and living with that truth changed the way I understand long ago.
Not many realities shed a better light on the brevity of life than escaping death.
The overarching gratefulness creates such a different perspective even more so than knowing to be absent means being present. Hezekiah would be a great example.
It’s like being born again, physically, better than a second chance which I have had multiple times because of sin.
Based on what could of been I’ve had thirteen years I may not have had, while some out of the 170,000 worldwide didnt have maybe a few weeks because of the Covid virus, or the countless others for other reasons.
I pray they all met Jesus somehow, someway.
Humbly sharing,
Mike

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