Summary: The Hope of our souls arrived for us all in the person of Jesus Christ, God’s own Son. God did in fact answer Isaiah’s plea to "pull the Heavens apart and come down to us;" for the Heaven’s themselves were rendered to make possible the birth of Christ.
The Hope of Redemption
Today we celebrate the Hope that Jesus fulfilled when He was born to be our Redeemer.
Redeemed has taken on a whole new meaning in our day and age of Pawn Shops and Discount stores.
If you happen to be a civil servant, teacher or a business owner you might know the meaning of redemption better than most as they have those “Jail and Bail” type fund raisers throughout the year.
It’s all in good fun as the police show up at your work place and take the boss away in a squad car with lights flashing. Nowadays it can all be captured on a cell phone and shared instantly to the world. Then they put those captured into a makeshift cardboard cell and sometimes local T.V. covers the event.
While in the hoosegow the students, employees or co-workers are to phone in pledges to cover the cost of releasing their teachers, bosses and other arrested parties. The thing is that the arrested parties cannot get out until the pledge target is reached.
Some folks remain prisoners much longer than they expected. Occasionally a loving spouse will make the ultimate sacrifice and bail out their partner. I recommend that no one count on me being bailed out by Fran early so set any fundraising targets well within reach.
That kind of redemption is all meant to be in good fun and for a good cause. Today our scripture tells of a totally different kind of redemption for an entirely different reason.
Contrasted against the words of Isaiah 64:1-9 we realize our HOPE is for a different kind of redemption. An eternal kind, a redemption that leads to salvation.
Hope is an exercise for people who are often waiting for something they long for. Israel had been conquered by so many empires so many times it is a wonder that they managed to hold onto their HOPE at all. The secret was that they held onto their Faith in God.
"Now faith is the substance of things Hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
The Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans all trampled little Israel deeper and deeper into the dust of time. Listening to the lament of Isaiah we can understand his heartache and his broken spirit. Still he offers the reader Hope in this passage as he reminds us that we are fashioned by God’s own hands to be His children.
The thing of it is that God the Father has extended His HOPE not just to Israel but to all the nations.
The Message Bible puts it this way...
“Pay attention, my people. Listen to me, nations. Revelation flows from me. My decisions light up the world. My deliverance arrives on the run, my salvation right on time. I’ll bring justice to the peoples. Even faraway islands will look to me and take hope in my saving power. Look up at the skies, ponder the earth under your feet. The skies will fade out like smoke, the earth will wear out like work pants, and the people will die off like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my setting-things-right will never be obsolete.”
The Hope of our souls arrived for us all in the person of Jesus Christ, God’s own Son. God did in fact answer Isaiah’s plea to "pull the Heavens apart and come down to us;" for the Heaven’s themselves were rendered or melted to make possible the birth of Christ.
God also wants to melt your heart so there will be room in it for Jesus. God wants to get past your cold indifference so His love for you can embrace you as His child.
Salvation is given to us in exchange for our sins. We have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb. Our Heavenly Father has paid an unimaginable price to save us and free us. It has cost the life of His son.
8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Jesus is the gift of Hope our God has offered to us at Christmas. The Hope that your soul and mine and all those who are afar off from God can be brought back to Him a sons and daughters. No longer are we orphans living subject to the hopelessness of this sin filled world. Instead we are cherished children of the Almighty Father and heirs with Christ.
Jesus invites us to open the gifts He has brought us; to eat the Bread of Life and to drink the wine of Salvation.
As we begin our Christmas journey let us first meet at The Lord’s Table and be reminded of the Hope we have been given in Christ before we present ourselves at the stable and peer into His manger bed.