By Pastor Raul Granillo
I’ve been a Cubs fan since I was about 3-years-old. When people would ask why I liked the Cubs, I would tell them that it taught humility.
After all, every year, the Cubs seemed to get my hopes up and then crush them like a recycled soda can. Honestly, I had come to expect nothing less from them—that is, until they went and won the World Series causing me to question everything I knew!
There are some things that we hope for and expect that one day they will come to pass, like graduating school, or getting a job. Then there are those things that we hope for but never really expect, like the Cubs winning the World Series. The truth is that there are also many things that are so beyond our expectation that we don’t even dare to hope for them. After all, experience has taught us not to.
There are some today who don’t dare hope for reconciliation in a relationship because of the bridges that have been burnt. There are those today who don’t dare hope for a life free from abuse because it is all that they know. There are those today who don’t dare hope freedom from a destructive lifestyle because no one seems to care. There are those today who don’t dare hope for forgiveness because it is undeserved. There are many today who simply fear the disappointment that hope would surely bring.
Luke tells the story of a widow who was on her way to bury her only son. If she had any hope at all, it was probably only to survive the grief in her life. Luke tells us that Jesus saw her in her grief and He did something absolutely unexpected. Jesus reached up, touched the boy and commanded him to live. Luke writes, “The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.” (Luke 7:15)
This mother most certainly did not expect to have her son given back to her. She dared not to hope for something so impossible. She could not have known that the very Creator of the Universe would have compassion and give her a new perspective upon hope. This is what God does. He brings life where we would only expect death to reign.
The other thing that Jesus did here is also important. Before He brought life to the son, Jesus reached up and touched the coffin. For a Jew, this was taboo. To touch a dead person would make you unclean, according to the law (Numbers 19:6). Jesus, God incarnate, holiness par excellence, chose to risk defilement for the sake of another. There is certainly something to be learned about hope through this.
Today, many dare not hope for reconciliation because the world has shown that it can hold a grudge. Today, many dare not hope for freedom from abuse because no one has been willing to stand before them. Today, many dare not hope for freedom because no one has been willing to go into the streets to walk them out. Today, many dare not hope for forgiveness because, after all, some things are unforgivable, at least, according to society.
Today, many dare not hope, simply because many dare not risk defiling themselves by going into the streets, having a cup of coffee with a homeless person, encouraging the felon, offering forgiveness when it is undeserved, or simply being willing to become educated about the lives of others.
This week is the advent of hope. As Christmas approaches, we celebrate the hope that came in flesh, in the manger, over two-thousand years ago. We also anticipate, with hope, that Jesus will return and “wipe away every tear” (Revelation 21:4).
In the meantime, His Church, those who profess Jesus as Lord, are to engage in bringing hope as well. If we are to really bring hope to the world, then we must be willing to touch that which others consider unclean. Not just during the Christmas season, but every day of our lives, we must be fearless so that we can help usher hope into the lives of others. This, unfortunately, is not expected.
Surprise the world, reach out and touch someone in order to bring life where death reigned.
To find out more about La Vista Church, or to hear this and other messages, visit our website at www.lavistanaz.org or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Pastor Raul on Twitter @RaulGranillo007. Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet at 9 a.m., Sundays for Sunday school and 10AM for worship. Everyone is welcome!