Date: Wednesday, August 21
Scripture: Acts 25:23-26:11
Verse: And now I stand here on trial on account of my hope in the promise made by God to our ancestors (Acts 26:6)
Hope is sometimes seen as the state of the ignorant. Well-informed people can tick off a long list of reasons for why things are bad – the plight of people in other parts of the world, stances of our government that trouble them, traumatic events in history, criminal activity, and more. The world, they argue, is going to Hell in a handbasket, and there is no stopping it.
Paul is a Pharisee, and as mentioned in Monday’s devotion, the Pharisees believed in a day of resurrection to come, but could not accept Jesus’ one-person resurrection as a sign that day had arrived. To flesh that our a little more, they believed the day of resurrection would come when God’s people obeyed the Law perfectly, which is why they were such sticklers for the Law as seen in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The lens through which they viewed the world was one focused on what was wrong with people that they could not obey.
Paul had that lens shattered that day on the road to Damascus, the story Paul tells again in the next several verses (Acts 26:12-18). After his miraculous encounter with Jesus and three days of blindness, Paul’s vision is refocused from darkness to light; from sin to Christ; from pessimism about the plight of the world to hope.
Hope is not a state of the ignorant, but of those who have had their vision refocused by the resurrected Jesus. The world is a mess, and there is much in it going wrong, but God is still God. He is bringing about his plan of renewal and restoration, and a day is coming when he will make everything right again. Our hope is that even in the midst of death and destruction, there is life and renewal in Christ. Jesus’ resurrection is a signpost on the road to the that new day in which we hope.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, keep your hope alive in my heart, even in the midst of the sin and brokenness. And give me courage to work toward what we hope for. Amen.
Action: Watch the video embedded below or on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YByT6wfdhJs. How does knowing Sunday’s coming give you hope?
Respond: How has hope change your view? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below. If you are receiving this via email, click the title at the top of the email to take you to the devotion webpage where you can leave a comment.[youtube:=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YByT6wfdhJs]