For the first 1500 years of Christianity, most Christians didn’t have Bibles to read and study. The printing press had not yet been invented and many couldn't read anyway. They gathered to receive the Body and Blood of Christ and to hear the Word of God preached and sung. In fact, the best way I know to learn scripture is to sing it. You may be familiar with one hymn of lasting greatness: “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand”. The first verse reads like this:
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.
Pretty good theology, right? Today, let’s take a few moments to consider the word “hope” and what the Bible says about it:
Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, who pleases me. I will put my Spirit upon Him, and He will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not fight or shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Finally, He will cause justice to be victorious and His name will be the hope of all the world. (Matthew 12:18-21 NLT)
Where is your hope? The hymn declares that our hope is built on “Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Unfortunately, many Christians’ hope is built on or in something else. Hope that we can pay our mortgages. Hope that we can keep our jobs. Hope that our churches will grow. Hope that if we get sick, we will get well. That kind of hope won’t help us. The Bible tells us in today’s passage that Jesus is the Hope of the world. In the next verse of “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand”, we read:
When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
When we find ourselves in one of life’s high and stormy gales, there is only one anchor in whom we can hope and trust: Jesus. My Mom used the phrase “fair weather friend” to describe someone who was only a friend in good times. Jesus isn’t a fair weather friend. He’s a Friend who is there in good times and bad times. Jesus comes into our lives and holds onto us when we are too weary and beaten down to hold onto Him.
Are you weary? Are you trying to hold on through the storms of life? Jesus is there for you, loving you, holding onto you when you are too weak to hold on to Him. Thank God today for the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. He's our only Hope, our sure Hope...and that's such very Good News!