One of the more confusing things about being one of the original twelve disciples must have been Jesus’ instance that he would not be around long. Imagine being around such a great presence like Christ who seemed to embody everything the scriptures had said about the coming Messiah. He healed the sick, spoke of revolution, and even was able to make food out of other food.
The book of John spends an extended period of time covering the Last Supper. Jesus talks at length about what is to come after his death, burial, and resurrection. Imagine what it felt like to sit there and hear these words. They had hitched their wagon to a rabbi the world could not handle. All they had given up and sacrificed seemed to be coming to a sudden end with every word Jesus was saying here.
We have all been part of something where, after a little time has passed we realize this thing is gonna crash and burn. It might have been a project, relationship, or organization. It all started with a lot of excitement, but after a while people start looking at each other and realize, this wasn’t what I thought it was going to be.
This is the reason a lot of marriages end. The lofty expectations of marriage tend to peel away as the opportunities to disappoint and fail avail themselves. I don’t believe this to be a cynical view, but more the reality of what it looks like when realities hit.
But there comes a time when, after the realizations hit, hope is examined. Yes, there is a lot of trouble now. And, there will be more trouble in the future. The question is – do we have hope things will be better or different?
One of the outcome measures our organization uses revolves around the idea of hope. Does the student have a greater sense of hope for the future after they go through our groups? Is finding support, community, safety, and education a way to increase hope that things will be different? Most of the time, yes.
As Jesus spoke the words about the coming of the Holy Spirit in John 14, he spoke to them words of hope. Their natural question was – what could be better that Jesus among us? Why should we have any hope for anything if Jesus is gone? Well, that is really how I would feel I guess.
Our plans fail when we have no hope. Our faith dies when hope is lost. And, for many years Christians have been those whose hope lies in the great beyond, but not really here on earth.
We need to change this. For Christ to be known in our communities, we must be a people who hope that Jesus is ever present and working in our day-to-day lives. Our hope must lie not only in the afterlife, but in the now – yearning that what is wrong around us is being made right.
I believe this is what helped the disciples move forward after Jesus died. They knew this was just the beginning. They believed that the Spirit was coming and that he was going to help us make all things new through the power of Jesus.
This weekend, look for places to bring this hope through the power of the spirit. Change your language from “someday” to “now”.
Christ is working and on the move through his spirit. And, this is where we find our hope.