In this sermon we continued our series, Coming Home for Christmas, with a look at Isaiah 42:1-9 and the topic of hope. In his book The Real American Dream: A Meditation on Hope, Andrew Delbanco explains the innate human need for hope:
“we must imagine some end to life that transcends our own tiny allotment of days and hours if we are to keep at bay the dim back-of-the-mind suspicion that we are adrift in an absurd world.”
In the past God and the promise of heaven provided that hope, but the rise of secularism, scientism and postmodern humanism have overwritten the story of God with the story of the individual self.
It’s a story that promises unlimited freedom to create and express our individual selves, but it comes with a cost. There’s no longer a center beyond ourselves, there’s no longer a greater end beyond our lives and many of us are haunted by that “dim back-of-the-mind suspicion” of absurdity. I have met many young people who have left behind the religious story of their family and tradition and who mourn the loss of a transcendent center in their lives. Yet they don’t feel that they can go back to the faith-centered days of the past.
In Isaiah 42 we see an invitation to come back around to the story of God. It offers us a glimpse of a story grand enough to capture our hearts and it offers us a confidence that the story is more than mere wish-fulfillment. Isaiah tells us of a hero who will come to bring justice and peace to all nations, a hero who will come with all of the might of the Spirit of God and yet come with gentleness and meekness.
When this hero comes he will right all wrongs and usher in a world where everything is good and right, just the way it is supposed to be.
In Jesus, this and hundreds of other Messianic prophecies converged to find their fulfillment. Defying all odds, the fulfillment of all of those OT messianic prophecies in the life of Jesus is an unmistakable sign of a divine presence. They give us confidence that we are not alone, that Jesus was truly the Messiah and that he will come again to finish what he started. The King is coming and soon all will be made right. Christmas is an opportunity for us to behold Christ and fuel our hope as we look beyond ourselves to the ultimate coming of his kingdom.
Tom Brown is the planting pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Wichita. Tom and his wife, Mandy, have worked together in ministry for 18 years and have four children. More about Pastor Tom Brown