This year at Christmas, at First Baptist Church, Lafayette, we are on a journey to Activate Advent. We begin with the word “hope.” What is hope? At the root of Christmas is hope. When the prophets of the Old Testament prophesied the coming of Messiah, they did so with hope.
Luke recorded for us the account of Jesus’ earthly parents bringing Him to the Temple for an ordained time of consecration. His parents are doing for Him all that “was customary under the law.” (Luke 2:27) This would have been some 40 days after His birth. In this experience, further revelation is made known as to who Jesus is. This recognition is made by a man named Simeon, who was righteous and devout and looking forward to Israel’s consolation, and a woman named Anna, righteous in her own right, being one who stayed in the Temple Complex to pray. In other words, both of these, fully aware of the Prophets’ message of the coming of Messiah, longed to one day be alive to see the Messiah.
But, here is our question for the day. What kept Simeon and Anna going to the Temple looking for Messiah? If we do the math, the last prophet, Malachi, had spoken over 400 years before this day in the Temple. Other major prophets, like Isaiah, had prophesied over 700 years before this day. What kept Simeon and Anna going to the Temple?
I think we find our answer in one word: Hope.
What’s the difference between hope and faith? I do believe there is a difference, because the writer of Hebrews said that “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.” But, I also believe that Biblical hope is more than just wishful thinking. So what is the difference between hope and faith?
Hope is faith in waiting. So, what do we do while we wait? Simeon and Anna gave us a great example. First, we trust God’s Word. Then, we trust God’s timing.
Why did Jesus come on the day that He came? Why did Simeon, Anna, and others have to wait for the Messiah? Apostle Paul, in writing to the Galatians, gave this answer, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.” (Galatians 4:4) Jesus was born at the right time. We don’t know the exact date, but it was the correct date. We don’t know the day He is coming again, but He will return on the right date. I don’t know why you have to wait for whatever today finds you hoping in God for, but I know that it will come on the right date.
If you have become discouraged, today is the day to activate hope because Christmas is coming!
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