Hope is a Lion (and the heavens are roaring)!
I’ve noticed I say “hope” a great many times throughout my day. When I’m talking or texting, praying or just thinking, I keep “hearing” – “I hope.” I hope you are safe. I hope you have a good day. I hope he or she feels better. I hope you get that job or assignment or finish that project. I hope it’s warmer tomorrow. I hope that check comes in. I hope this social distancing is over soon. I hope the report is good. I hope . . . .
I’ve put my hope in different people or things over the years. I’ve wondered if my hope has been placed a bit too readily in education, relationships, savings accounts, good health, a safe home, a steady job, food on the table, freedom to worship and really freedom to do anything I want at any time.
Basically, I’ve come to realize I throw that little word “hope” around a little too easily and without a great deal of thought.
As we anticipate the glorious celebration of Easter morning, we are here, on this Saturday. We are just waiting. Just like that Saturday so many years ago when the disciples, Jesus’ loved ones, those who had ministered and served with Him, those He had taught and healed and those He would save were waiting. They waited with seemingly no hope. They didn’t know what the coming days and weeks and anything thereafter were going to look like. The world as they had known it was shattered. Friday, with its unfathomable events, had come and gone. They had no idea what the next morning was going to bring.
But I do! You do! We do!
I know I can’t dilly dally around with all of those other things I casually say “I hope” will happen. In 1 Peter 3:15, Jesus’ close friend entreats us to “ALWAYS be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
So what do I hope in? Where is your hope placed? Who is the only One who is worthy of our hope?
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. Yes, let’s sing it together: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.” Keep singing!
If you have a few minutes on this Saturday, let’s explore what this hope really looks like. If you are able, find a quiet place and as you read this, and if you have time, click on the links to the songs. “Hopefully” once Sunday morning arrives we will be ready to worship our risen Lord and Savior and Almighty King – even if from our distant places. Ready? Let’s listen for the hope!
I’m afraid I’m often guilty of truly not understanding and remembering the majesty, magnificence and splendor of the Lord Jesus Christ. I love Him. I trust Him (most days). I seek to honor and obey Him. I try to serve Him. I want to know Him deeper and better and understand His Word in its vast perfection.
But in doing so, I “see” in my mind’s eye, a sweet baby born in a manger. An intelligent, obedient, hard-working young man. A kind, loving, incredibly gifted, graciously speaking, charismatic preacher, teacher and leader. And finally, a determined, obedient, understanding, sinless servant, Lamb of God, Savior and the Son of perfect love and grace.
Yes, Jesus was and is all of those things. Yet all of those things are just a drop in the bucket of the glory that draws us to Him in worship and praise.
On that first Easter morning and on every Easter morning since, including tomorrow – from wherever we may be, we celebrate, honor and acclaim the blood of the Lamb, the risen Son of God, and the reigning Lion of Judah!
Our hope is secure – – not in a dream, or a wish, or a possibility. Not in a circumstance or happenstance. My hope, your hope, our hope, is in a King who lives, who reigns and who is coming again – – – not with a whimper, or a cry or a sweet lullaby – – – but with shouts of acclamation, the sound of a trumpet and the roar of heaven.
The names of and for Jesus are plentiful. They describe His actions, attributes, abilities and awesomeness.
As we anticipate and prepare for the lavish praise due Him in worship and celebration of His resurrection, let’s consider His scriptural designation as the Lion of Judah. What does that mean for us as we hope in Him, His resurrection and His return?
Did Jesus quietly sneak out of the grave on that early Sunday morning? Certainly His crucifixion was anything but quiet. The gospels tell us that at the moment of Jesus’ death He cried out in a loud voice, the curtain of the temple tore from top to bottom, the earth shook, rocks split and the tombs of many holy people broke open. We talk about the grief and sadness of Good Friday, but do you ever think of the noise? It must have been incredible. I imagine the people were also screaming at the horror of it all. I don’t know, but maybe they covered their ears as the horror exploded in decibels around them.
So would Sunday morning be any different? I generally picture Jesus just calmly slipping out of the grave clothes and tip-toeing out of the grave as the stone rolled gently away. But this is Jesus – the risen Lamb of God – the Lion of Judah – the Victor over sin and death. That morning the guards were so afraid they “became like dead men.” Matthew tells us there was a violent earthquake when the angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled back the stone. I’m thinking this wasn’t just any calm, spring morning with Easter lilies and bunnies. This was a magnificent, earth-shattering, heaven-resounding resurrection; the most incredible and stupendous awakening in all creation.
This, this Jesus – alive and strong and victorious – HE is on whom my hope rests.
Phil Wickham sings of this amazing, history altering morning in his song Living Hope.
Yes, that Lion of Judah began to breathe and roared out of the grave. Probably not the most quiet and gentle first Easter morning.
And what was happening in Heaven? Were the angels just watching and waiting and humming along? Revelation describes the angels roaring with their shouts of Hallelujah and when reading from a little scroll. (Revelation 19:1 and 10:3) Would the morning the Son of Heaven conquered death and became alive forevermore have demanded anything less?
We at Buck Run sing about the angels roaring for Christ their King – can you imagine the magnificence of their sound as they cheered and praised the One they adore in O Praise the Name.
And still, forever and ever to come, the heavens are roaring at the name of Jesus – What a Beautiful Name
When the fulfillment of time has come; when our hope of eternity with the Lord is ready to come to fruition – – Who is worthy to break the seal and open the scroll according to Revelation 5? – – “No one in heaven or on earth or under the earth.” Who then? – ONLY the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, who has triumphed over sin and the grave! Is He Worthy
If Jesus Christ, the risen Lamb of God, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, is the only one in heaven and on earth or under the earth so worthy, isn’t He also the only one, the only thing on whom my hope should be built? On whom my life, your trust, our hope should rest?
What a glorious thought – He wants nothing more than for me, for you, for all who are willing, to put our hope in Him. He first came to us as a baby. Now He lives and reigns victoriously as the Lord God Almighty, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Can’t you imagine the roar of praise and hallelujahs as all of heaven celebrates Easter morning right along with us tomorrow as we gather – – apart – – to celebrate and honor Him?
I sure hope we can hear it – if only in our mind’s eye – at least for the time being!
“My Hope Is Built”
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean in Jesus’ Name
When darkness seems
To hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil
On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my Hope and Stay
When He shall come
With trumpet sound
Oh may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone
Faultless to stand before the throne
Blessings to you and your family this Easter,