"In His name the nations will put their hope"
In these final few days of Advent, we zoom out from the Middle East and look to the whole earth -
a world that is scarred and broken, but immeasurably loved by God.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Corruption, poverty, inequality, global conflict, consumerism, greed, the destruction of nature... it can be hard to look at the seemingly endless pain in our world and feel anything but despair. Yet we know from John 3:16 that when God looked at the world He created, He was filled not with hopelessness, but with an unfathomable love.
As we symbolically gaze into the manger at Christmas, we marvel at this God of love who took the form of a tiny human baby. But we also know the rest of the story. The baby of Christmas grew up to become the man of Good Friday – who by His death took away the sins of the world.
Thank God for His amazing love for the nations of earth, and for the eternal hope we have in Jesus. And whenever hope gives way to despair at the state of the world, remind yourself of the promise of Revelation 21:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away... And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’”
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.”
This passage, in which Isaiah prophesies Jesus as our “Prince of Peace,” is one of the most-loved and most-read of the Christmas season. But where is the peace that He promised? His coming did not bring an end to war, military might, aggression or anxiety – something the downcast disciples on the road to Emmaus felt all too keenly as they said with despondency, “We had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21). They lost all hope when they saw their beloved friend die – where was the triumph over the Romans they had expected?
Little did they know they were speaking to the risen Jesus! And little did they understand that, through His death and resurrection, He had brought about the ultimate victory – not an end to Roman occupation as they had thought, but something immeasurably better – the peace of a restored relationship between humanity and the Father.
When the brokenness of this world overwhelms, thank God for the peace that Jesus gives us – the ultimate peace of His kingdom, which “transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).
I’m a non-Christian and disabled. I see the catastrophe in the world and the mistakes people are making. I see people getting killed no matter what religion they are. I pray for these people. I watch your channel and you are helping people spiritually. My life is a lot harder as a disabled person compared to others, but as long as there are people like you talking about peace and love, this chaos will end. I believe it.”
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
On the very first Christmas Eve over 2,000 years ago, people were longing for their promised Messiah to arrive. What would he look like? Where would he be born? Though the answers were prophesied long before, many still didn’t recognise Him even when He walked among them.
Today, many are still longing for something more than this world seems to provide. Even those who have achieved all that earthly life has to offer – wealth, relationships, adventure, career success – still have a niggling, deep-down feeling in their heart that something is missing.
In truth, that something is actually a someone – the same Someone whose coming many around the world will celebrate tomorrow, whose birth defines the very years on our calendar – yet who still walks unrecognised amongst many of His own.
Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free,
from our sins and fears release us,
let us find our rest in thee.”
Jesus, our long-awaited Messiah, is the fulfilment of all our deepest longings. He alone is the answer to the questions in people’s hearts.
Thank God that SAT-7 is making Jesus known across the Middle East and North Africa, and take a moment to reflect – are you committed to revealing His love to those around you?