Choose texts that work in your context.
Old Testament: Isaiah 40:28-31
- Jesus Christ our hope is a theme that comes at the right time, an appropriate theme in the aftermath of crossing zones of turbulence in our world and in our lives in particular. Hope is a pure and disinterested confidence in the future. Don’t we say that we have no hope when there is no life? To have hope is to have faith, to continue to put one’s trust in God, even if everything does not go as we want. In our context of insecurity, aggravated by the COVID-19 crisis and many other evils that rage around us, hope presents itself as the breath of life.
- The children of Israel at one time also went through such disappointments and moments of crisis. According to them, they felt they no longer were important in the eyes of God. Many of them may have the same feeling of being not counted by God. This is common when we are going through uncertain times. God knows this, and knows our fears and our worries. Despite the uncertainty, God speaks to us saying, “Give hope to my people!”
- Although not everything is as we were used to before, God is faithful to God’s promises. God remains God and has not changed. God asks you to place your trust, your hope in God. In Isaiah 40, God says over and over “Raise your eyes up and look! Who created these things? Who makes their army march in order? He calls them all by name.” God says in Jeremiah 29:11: “Yes, I the LORD, know the plans I have for you. I declare it, these are not projects of misfortune but projects of happiness. I want to give you a figure full of hope.”
- God wants to give you hope when you think that nothing is going well in your family life, your health, your work, or your relationships with others. God asks you to look up to God. Like God, God wants you not to be tired, nor to get bored. When you think nothing is right, God tells you to take flight like an eagle. God wants you to put your trust in God. Do not see everything as a failure, but count the benefits God put before you. You will see that in worship, the blessings of God are great.
- Hope in God will increase our strength to serve the Lord.
Psalm: Psalm 62:1-6
- David exhorts himself to continue to wait on God. We must persevere in the good we do and strive to do more and more.
- Everyone has been confronted with the actions of some ill-intentioned people and irritated by others. But God allows these things. Of course, they are difficult to deal with, but they also give the opportunity to develop more virtuous behaviours.
- The more faith is exercised, the more active it becomes. The more we meditate on the perfections of God, on God’s promises and our experience, the more we overcome our fears and are kept in peace (Isaiah 26:3). In the same way that David’s faith rises to unshakable certainty, his joy will turn into holy triumph.
Gospel: Luke 18:35-43
- Jesus is the hope of the marginalized. Jesus is the one who can hear the voice of the voiceless. Let us open our ears, our eyes, to hear and see those who are marginalized in order to give them hope.
- This blind and desperate man was depending on the generosity of people of good will. It was a generosity that certainly did not meet all of his needs. This man wanted to be independent. He must have heard of Jesus, and he put his hope, his faith, in Jesus without having seen him. This man said to himself that the day when Jesus would pass by him, he would not miss the opportunity to challenge him. His hope was in Jesus.
- This day is a day of grace for the blind man. He hears the noise of a crowd, he inquires and learns it is Jesus of Nazareth who is passing by. He says to himself, “my hope is fulfilled”. Then, louder than all the noise by the crowd, they hear “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” The crowd, out of contempt, say to him “Shut up”. It is then that he cries louder and louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus, the hope of the hopeless, pays attention to him, and makes him the most beautiful offer, “What do you want me to do?” Some versions say, “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus, I would like to hear you ask me such a question every day of my life, because you are my hope.
- Just like the young King Solomon, the blind man asks for what is essential and necessary, and what men have failed to give him, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” The Lord answers him. He is fulfilled and is the happiest man on earth that day.
- Certainly, this man was marginalized because of his physical disability. Jesus was his deliverance and his hope. It may be that we are not the victim of a physical handicap, but of some kind of handicap that cannot be seen by the human eye. We too must make this cry to Jesus every day, saying “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me”. Thus, Jesus will heal our physical and spiritual handicaps. In return, we turn to him in gratitude and ask him, like Saul did on the road to Damascus, saying “Lord, what do you want me to do?” (Acts 9:6)
- Hoping in Christ can bring healing to our lives.
- What situation is so hard for you that it is hard to have hope? Who is trying to silence you? Fix your eyes on Jesus. Do not allow anyone to silence your hope in Christ. Cry out even more! Call upon Jesus, and he will respond. Jesus gives attention when you call out to him, with hope.
New Testament: 1 Peter 1:3-6
- Jesus made it clear to his disciples what the price is to pay for following him. Jesus did not promise us mountains and marvels. On the contrary, he told us if we want to follow him, we must take up our cross, the symbol of suffering and perseverance. What is reassuring to us about this kingdom reality is that Jesus has promised to be with us in good times and bad.
- Jesus is our hope in this present life, and Jesus is also our living hope for all time. We put our trust in Jesus for eternity. No matter what is going on for you, and what is not going well, put your trust in Jesus. Don’t give up on Jesus, your spiritual life. Rise up and put your hope once again in Jesus.
Sermon content provided by:
- Siaka Traoré, pastor, Eglise Evangélique Mennonite du Burkina Faso
- Seliselwe Sibanda of Brethren in Christ Church, Zimbabwe
- Pastor Absalom Sibanda, Evangelist, Brethren in Christ Church, Zimbabwe