The Hope of Israel

Christianity is a faith with its roots in Israel and in Judaism. The people of Israel had waited for a Prophet. The people of Israel had waited for a Messiah. They had waited for the return of Elijah, and it is for this reason that they had asked John the Baptist if he was any of these when he had started his ministry and was baptizing people in the wilderness.

John said that he was not any of these, but there was one who was coming who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. This One is Jesus and he was the one that the Jews had been waiting for. They had waited for him for centuries, in fact for millennia, and many had essentially given up. Many thought that God had simply forgotten them, or abandoned them.

Yet those who maintained their hope continued to wait and watch. They continued to look for the one that would come, and when they saw the one who spoke in the way that God spoke, who did the things that only God could do, they correctly identified him – Jesus – as the Messiah, as the One for whom they were waiting.

As before, Paul, now in Rome before the Jewish leaders there, identifies Jesus as the hope of Israel. He is the Messiah that they have awaited.

It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.

Acts 28:20

Jesus fulfilled the Law and the Prophets and brought the waiting of the Israelites to an end.

We find ourselves in a similar place today. We are also waiting on Jesus. We are waiting for him to return. And many, like in the time of the Israelites’ waiting, have lost hope. They have thought that Jesus is not returning. Or they have rationalized that he isn’t real. Or they have believed in something else.

But Jesus is returning. He is not only the hope of Israel, he is the our living hope as well. He not only died, he arose, and Jesus will return to finally and completely establish his kingdom here on the earth. This is the hope that we cling to as well. This is what we are also waiting for. Like the Jews, we must not give up hope nor lose faith. God is not slow in coming. Our hope, like that of Israel, will be fulfilled.

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