My hope is built…

Thursday April 1st

This week we will hear a number of familiar passages, about Jesus betrayal, death, and resurrection.  We have heard these stories so often that we can find ourselves glancing over them.  They become common, normal passages of scripture.  Turn with me to John 13 and 14.  In John 13 Jesus celebrates the Last Supper with the disciples in the upper room.  As I read this passage I am astounded at the circumstances that He celebrated that meal in.

Jesus knew as he washed his disciple’s feet that Judas was going to betray him for a bag of silver.  Peter, the leader of the group, was going to disown Jesus publically three times before the night ended.  Imagine if you were a disciple.  Jesus had made it clear this would be your last time together, and one of your trusted friends is going to betray Jesus, the one you looked at as your leader is going to disown Jesus, and Jesus is about to turn the reigns of the church over to your group.  If I were in the room I would be panicked.  We are doomed, how could Jesus leave something as important as God’s word to a group like that?

Then you read the beginning of Chapter 14 and Jesus says to his disciples, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” John 14:1, ESV   Don’t be troubled?  Jesus you are leaving us to run the church with 12 ordinary people, who have little training, and two of them are about to turn their backs on you, one of whom is your assumed predecessor.  The disciples were fearful, nervous and skeptical of the ability to do what Jesus was calling them to, to be the church after He left.

Yet Jesus reminds them to not be afraid, for Jesus is not leaving them alone, this is not their church, it is God’s.  God’s weakness is far greater than our strength.  God’s grace and power can overcome our own brokenness.  Jesus seems to ask the disciples, what do you put your Hope in?  Where is your hope in this church?  Is it in people, is that why you are afraid?   Is it because you just watched with two of your own sin, betray me, and fail.  Get used to it, because they are not perfect.

So where do we put our hope in God’s church?  For some they place their hope in a building.  “We will grow and have a great ministry because we have a great facility.”  For others they place it in their pastor, “Pastor Joe is such a great preacher, we do well during his tenure.”  There are many places that we can place our hope, but each of them can fail and falter.

This week as we celebrate Easter, take a moment to reflect, where is your hope in the church?  Is it in people or material things?  For Jesus tells us, do not fear, for I am with you.  We are to have hope in Christ’s church because of Christ.  We have hope because Jesus not only died on the cross and rose for our sins, but promises to not leave his church, but send help and guidance.  I guess the old hymn best sums this up, “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”

Pastor Bill