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CHRIST: OUR HOPE (John 1:1-18)

- Rev. R. B. Marpna

Reading the daily papers, watchingTV, and listening to the radio is filled with an unmixedpleasure these days because there is so much strife, conflict, unrest, uncertainty, and too much crime in this world. As W. McClements says, “one must readily accept the fact that we are living in a sick, distracted and disillusioned world”, and this is seen throughout the world and such developments fill the heart of men with fear. Leaders, Statements, Scientists, and others came forward to earnestly strived to ensure peace harmony, and goodwill among all nations and races. With all the effortsmade, as we look upon this world today it seems that the problemsare “deep-seated” and are beyond human solution, and is withouthope. The problemwith this world and its leaders is that they don’t know where to look for solutions and hope becausein their quest for answers they turn to wealth,happiness, scientific progress,and other materialthings instead of turning to their creator.

1. What is Hope? According to Webster’s dictionary, Hope is defined as, “a confident expectation that a desire will be fulfilled; wishful trust.It is based on somethingabout the unknown.” According to John Piper, the word Hope is often used in three senses. Firstly, A desire for something good in the future. Secondly, the things in the future we desire,and Thirdly, the basis or reason for thinkingthat our desire may indeed be fulfilled. According to the Bible Hope is not only the desire that something good will happen, but that something good is expectedto happen and the individual has the confidence that it will surely happen.

2. Christ: Our Hope If there is one thing that we all need today, it certainly is HOPE. Whether it be a child, a young man or woman,a husband or wife, a parent or older folk,hope is the one thingthat keeps us all striving in life. We all hope that things will turn out to be better than they are right now. But the fact is that man himself cannot find the solution to all the problems that existed today because the answers they are yearning for are found only in the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour because He alone can deliver us from this present situation. The reasons that Christ is humanity’s last hope are as follows:

2.1. The One who sent Jesus The phrase “The one who sent me”, is a statement found in Matt. 10:40; Mark 9:37; Luke 9:48, “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me”. There are three aspects that we can learn from this statement. Firstly, “the one who sent” (sender) – here the sender is the Father.In His teaching, Jesus was determined that He was sent into this world by the Father, for example, in Luke 2:49, 10:21-24; Matt. 11:25-27, Jesus viewed himself as a steward of those things “handed over” to him by the Father. Secondly, “the sent one” – Jesus was aware of the fact that He was the one who was sent to this earth, and this was reflected in his commitment to doing the Father’s will. For example, Jesus submits to John’s baptism to affirm his willingness to carry out his Father’swill (Matt. 3:15).”That same obedience was evident in Gethsemane when he prayed “Thy will be done” (Matt. 26:42; Luke 22:42; Mark 14:36). Thirdly, there was a “close identification” between the senderand the one who was sent – in all the four gospels, Jesus declared that he possessed the same knowledge, judgment, authority, will, actions, and words as the Father. 2.2. He Came with a Mission Jesus’ perspective on the task entrusted to him is revealed in his statements “I came”. John D. Harvey says, “these statements ascribe to Jesus’ special status as one who comes with a particular mission. They relate Jesus’ mission to the past, present, and future periods of salvation history.” These statements also reveal that Jesus understood the purpose of his task to be salvific – he came to die for the sins of the world but arose again on the third day for our justification. The gospels are a testament to these, for example; To Zacchaeus, he affirmed, “The Son ofMan came to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). This attitude of seeking what is lost is also pictured in the parables of the lost sheep (Matt. 18:12-14; Luke 15:3-7) and the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10). Jesus not only came to seek the lost, but he also saved them (Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45)he also uses “ransom” within the OT understanding of deliverance by paying the price. This is what makes Christianity different from other religions in the world because Jesuscame to this earth (Christmas Day) to die on the Cross so that we may have life – which is for all those who believe in him. He is our only Hope – living Hope. The phrase “I was sent” provides a beautiful insight into the missionof Jesus. Here,the primary activity in which Jesus was engaged while on a mission – Jesus makes it clear that he was sent to preach, “I must preachthe kingdom of God…” (Mark 1:38). In the temple,when he quotedIsaiah 61:1-2. At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he declared twice that his primary activity would be preaching, and the gospel writers regularly describe Jesus as being engaged in preaching (Matt. 4:12-17, 23-25; Mark 1:14-15, 35-39; Luke 20:1).

2.3. The Seriousness of Sin The word Sin comes from the Greek word hamartia which means that “Sin is not only missing God’s mark; it is an inner reality, a wrap in human nature, and a malignant power that holds each individual in an unbreakable grip” (Richards:1991, 568). The Bible talks a lot about Sin, the Apostle John defines Sin as “The transgression of the Law” (1 John 3:4) i.e., against the Law of God. Paul says, “we all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23) and because of this nature we fall short of the glory of God and this leads us to death (Rom. 6:23). All of humanity because of Sin have fallen short of the glory of God and we cannotreconcile to God through our action or doing. It is requiredthat someone has to pay the price on our behalf, this task can only be performed by Jesus – Son of the living God. Therefore, Jesuscame into this world to take the form of a humanto live among us and eventually to take the Cross upon himself to reconcile us to God. Looking at the world today peoplejoke about sin and treat it casually.Manytakes sin for granted and they don’t realize that their actions are sinful in the sight of God, some aredeceived and unaware of their sinful actions.

3. Conclusion From the very beginning of the Book of Genesis, we read in Gen. 3:15 the promise of God that a descendant of Adam (who lead us into sin) would come and destroy the effect of sin – Jesus (who lead us out of sin). This promise was at work when God chose Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen. 22:17), and made a covenant with them. Therefore, we can say that the Old Testament is a storyof a God, who himselftakes the initiative to save and redeem his creation, especially ‘man’ from his sin. This is a messageof love that is consistent throughout the OT, as God is concerned about all the peoples of the world. God himself is at work and in the election of Israel, works in and through her in revealing his plan of Salvation and Redemption of the entire nations of the world which is fulfilled in Jesus Christon Christmas Day –the day that gave us hope, peace,and good tidings. Therefore, through Christmas, I believed that Christ came into this world for one sole reason whichis to bring deliverance and salvation to this perishing world. God couldn’tbare the fact that his preciouscreations would die in their sins and therefore He sent forth his ‘Son’ – Jesus, and Jesus also knows this – that he was sent for a purposei.e., to save humanity. Therefore, Paul says “remember that you were at that time withoutChrist, being aliensfrom the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having nohope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). Here he reminded us (humans) that we are a people without hope and are strangers to God –but on this day God seeks to bring us back to him at the cost of his own begotten Son because only through Jesus can we become children of the living God. Jesus is humanity's only Hope.

Christmas Day – Hope for All

I Rev.Rocky B.Marpna i dei uwei na ki Pastor ka Balang Presbyterian Jaiaw. U Blei u la khot ia i ban pyntbit ha ka ban trei ia ka kam jong U. I la pyndep ia ka jingpule B.D ha u bnai March 2015 bad MTh ha u bnai March 2021 na Union Biblical Seminary. I dei ruh u dkhot ka Editorial Board, Lam Jingshai E-Newsletter. I kurim jong jong i i trei kum ka nonghikai skul ha Sun Rays Secondary School. Ki iashong iasah ha Mawlai Nongmali, Shillong

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