Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even today do I declare that I will render double unto thee; (Zechariah 9:12, KJV)
I am a prisoner of hope. I am bound and chained to hope. I will always believe.
The Philadelphia Eagles (pronounced Iggles) beat the Washington Redskins last night in the season opener. It was a Monday Night Football game, and the Redskins were favored to win. What happened in the first half was nothing short of phenomenal. Early in the third quarter they went up 33-7, and it wasn’t that close. And now, because of that unexpected victory, we Eagles fans now have “high hopes.”
The walk to Emmaus was a short distance but this time if felt like a long way. For Cleopas and his friend as they walked back from Jerusalem to their home town on that first Easter Sunday, their heads were down and their prospects were dim. They had high expectations of Jesus, but it appeared to them that what they had hoped for did not come true.
But then along came the Master. They didn’t recognize this supposed stranger, and yet they knew of the prophesied resurrection of Jesus. They knew he was crucified on Friday, buried in a borrowed tomb, and was scheduled to rise from the dead on the third day. “But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened” (Luke 24:21-22, RSV).
After walking and talking with Jesus — albeit unbeknownst to them — he shared with them. “Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself (Luke 24:27 RSV). Jesus knows how to approach us, how to come alongside us, and how give us a boost and a shot in the arm just when we need Him most.
We need to walk and talk with Jesus, and tell him all about our troubles. We need to tell Him our fears and frustrations and doubts and dejections; all of our innermost feelings that get all bottled up inside and hinder us from believing Him fully.
Believers, above all others, should have high hopes. We are to be eternal optimists. As Frank Sinatra sang, we should have “high apple pie in the sky hopes.”
Next time your found, with your chin on the ground
There a lot to be learned, so look around
Just what makes that little old ant
Think he’ll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, cant
Move a rubber tree plant
But he’s got high hopes, he’s got high hopes
He’s got high apple pie, in the sky hopes
So any time you’re getting’ low
Stead of lettin’ go
Just remember that ant
Oops there goes another rubber tree plant!
The song is silly, but it makes serious sense. Proverbs tells us that we need to consider the ant: “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” (Proverbs 6:6). Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, just like he said he would. Because he rose from the dead, we can, in all situations and circumstances, have high hopes.