December 19 I Saturday
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an i
Between the last event of the Old Testament and the first event of the New Testament was about 400 years of silence. This silence was broken by the statement, “Do not be afraid…” We find its occurrence three times in the Christmas story by an angel of the Lord in the Gospel of Luke. The first person to hear this remark was Zechariah: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John” (Luke 1:13). The second person to receive this message was Mary: “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God” (Luke 1:30). And the third was to a group of shepherds: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10). The message of the New Testament is, “Do not be afraid, I have good news for you.”
In contrast, in Genesis 3 in the Old Testament, after Adam and his wife sinned, they hid from God. When God called out to Adam, “Where are you?” Adam answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Genesis 3:9-10). Adam’s response perfectly describes the human condition, hiding due to fear because of sin.
As compared with what happened in Genesis 3, the first message from God in the New Testament brings comfort: “Do not be afraid. I have come bringing good news to you.” The good news in Scripture is that we do not have to be afraid and we can approach God. We are free to enter in, come to Him and lay our situation before Him, and the God of hope will meet us there with His resources and enable us to rejoice in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.
Jesus came to set us free and liberate us from sin. He is our living hope. Whereas natural hope is nothing more than wishful thinking, such as this Christmas we hope to get a raise, biblical hope is rooted in a promise made by a trustworthy source. It is a confident expectation and desire for something good in the future. Biblical hope has certainty in it because God is the source of it. This is the hope that Israel, the people of God, were holding on to in those years of silence.
As we enter into this Christmas time, may we turn our attention to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, knowing we do not need to be afraid, because He is our living hope.
Prayer: Dear God, may my hope in You be anchored in Your truth that I do not need to fear. Grant in me a fresh understanding and appreciation of the way in which You want to move in my life.