Edited: Dec 17, 2018
날짜: 2018년 12월 9일
제목: 기다림과 희망
올리브연합감리교회 김배선 목사
20181209 Sunday Worship sermon
“Waiting and Hope” (Luke 9:10-17)
A few years ago, FOX news polling showed that the vast majority of Americans believed that God exists.
The result actually surprised us a little.
While reading the polling data, I was doubtful and had these questions:
"Among those who said to believe in God, what percentage do truly believe that God is with us by our side right at this moment and His steadfast and everlasting love is flowing in us? How many people do hold faith in the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross?"
Christmas is the same.
Most Americans know what Christmas is and why they celebrate Christmas and have fun.
They have some kind of excitement, gladness, and emotional expectation for Christmas season.
But I am doubtful and have questions; “among them what percentage do really know the true meaning of Christmas? How many people do only focus on Jesus during the Christmas season?”
Today is the second Sunday of Advent.
Last week Sunday, which is the first Sunday of Advent, we talked about waiting, especially about waiting for the Lord, our comforter.
Today we will talk a little more about waiting, but I will introduce HOPE which becomes the basis of waiting.
Advent is the season of waiting on Jesus Christ.
The Israelites have been in pain and devastation through the long history of slavery.
And there has been a prophecy through Isaiah to the Israelites that their Messiah, their Savior is coming.
It had been 700 years since that prophecy.
The Israelites had been waiting for their Messiah for 700 years.
They could wait that long because they had hope that their Messiah was coming.
That their Messiah was coming to save them.
And they passed on that hope from generation to generation and waited 700 years.
The hope is the reason we can wait.
The hope keeps us alive and is the reason we can persist.
During the World War II, a Division of the allied forces was isolated in a mountain.
A Division is the smallest unit in a military consisting of about 10 people.
This Division was lost due to severe weather and rough terrain and could not make it to the destination in time.
The head quarter gave up on the search and rescue because they were in the middle of the war.
Miraculously several days later, the lost Division returned alive and they testified.
“We had the map of that mountain. Even though the weather was bad and the terrain was steep and we had no food and were exhausted, we could find the ways because we had the map.”
However, the map they had was not the map of that mountain.
It was a completely different map.
So it turned out that what enabled them to return safely was not the map itself, but the hope they had in believing they could find ways using that map.
Hope, at times, gives us infinite strength and makes us overcome the fear and difficulties.
A person with hope can stand strong in any situation.
Hope is the anticipation of what’s forth coming and the potential that things will improve.
What is our situation now?
As we look around, we tend to find more difficult things than happy and joyous things.
After early morning prayer meeting, I usually check out news every morning through internet.
I check out US news, Hawaii local news, and news from Korea.
These days, I realize that most of the news is news that makes us sad, angry, and frustrated rather than pleasing to us.
80% of the news seem like negative events.
In politics, economics, social and culture, through all of these areas, it’s hard to find good news.
That’s the case everywhere around the world.
We are currently living in a time of crisis.
It seems like there is no hope.
How is at church?
The church should be hope for the world but it seems like church is also going through a time of crisis.
The number of churches and the number of Christians are consistently reducing.
Young generations are deserting the church and churches are losing the divine influence in the world.
There really seems like we have no hope in the church.
Then in this time of crisis, what is our hope?
What in this world could give us hope?
In this time of crisis where there seems to be no hope, the Lord is coming and he says, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”
In Jesus Christ, there is the way.
There is the truth and there is the life.
There is hope in the Lord.
Yes, Jesus Christ is certainly our hope.
In the bible, there are many scriptures that talk about Jesus Christ as hope.
As we read the gospels that talk about the miracles that Jesus performed and His teachings, we can see that the entire gospels witness Jesus Christ, which becomes the hope.
Among them, I would like to look at today’s text, Luke Chapter 9.
We are very familiar with this story.
Jesus spent most of his life in Galilee.
Galilee is very different from Jerusalem.
During the time of Jesus, Jerusalem was the central city with many people that are rich, influential, officers, and religious leaders.
On the other hand, Galilee had fishermen, poor people, sick people and those who were neglected from society.
Most of Jesus’ ministries took place in Galilee.
There, Jesus proclaimed God’s kingdom, performed miracles and shared his teachings.
Crowds of people always gathered around and followed Jesus.
And Jesus ate and drank with them, talked with them and became their friend.
To the people of Galilee, being with Jesus was their comfort and strength.
In today’s scripture, more than 5,000 people without counting women and children gathered to listen to Jesus’ teaching and to get healed at Bethsaida.
When it was time for dinner, the disciples started worrying about how they could feed all those people.
Some disciples proposed to send those people to town and let them take care of dinner on their own.
But Jesus proposed to his disciples, give them the food.
As you know, the solution to the problem started with five loaves and two fish.
The Gospel of John says that a boy brought five loaves and two fish.
Jesus blessed and broke the loaves and fish and gave them to his disciples to set before the mass number of people.
They all ate and were satisfied and twelve basketfuls of broken pieces were left over.
This event is documented in all four books of the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Many pastors give sermons on this event but focus on different aspects –
Some on the power of Jesus that performed the miracles,
some interpreting that this was the model of early church’s holy communion based on the verse 16, “taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them.”
Some emphasize the sharing based on one boy’s sharing of his belonging coming the source of the miracle.
There are many possible ways of looking at this event.
This time, as I was reading and reflecting on the scriptures, I discovered another theme.
We say ‘reading between the lines’.
Although it’s not written in the scriptures, I read between the lines of today’s scriptures and discovered the theme that we should not overlook.
That was “hope.”
We can see in today’s scripture, Jesus Christ whom passes out hope, and the crowd with having the anticipation of hope.
Think about it.
More than 5,000 people without counting women and children whom gathered to listen to Jesus Christ.
Counting women and children, it could be more than 10,000 people.
Jesus divided them into groups of 50.
So we can imagine that there were more than 250 groups at the hill of Bethsaida.
And it probably took a very long time for 250 groups to line up and get the loaves and fish.
Waiting in lines brings out anxiety.
And the reason is because you wonder what if the thing that you are waiting for runs out before your turn comes up and you don’t get any.
I served in the military back in Korea.
In the beginning, I went through a month long boot camp.
During the mealtime at boot camp, everyone lines up to get their food.
It always seemed that the line did not get any shorter.
Everyone got anxious thinking what if there wasn’t enough food.
It was Black Friday couple weeks ago.
On Black Friday, a lot of people line up in front of stores looking for bargains.
Some people get anxious- what if they don’t get to buy what they want because the store runs out of stock.
It goes same with purchasing tickets to popular concerts or sports events.
Yes, waiting in line for something makes you anxious.
There were more than 10,000 hungry people at Bethsaida.
There could’ve been a big commotion for 250 groups to get their food.
But today’s scripture does not say anything about the commotion.
It must have been orderly.
How could the big crowd of this size wait for something in line without any commotion?
It’s because they had hope that they could eat.
I could imagine that picture in today’s scripture.
There was an experiment at Stanford University back in the 1960s.
It was called “Marsh Mellow Experiment.”
A teacher at a kindergarten gave out one marsh mellow to each kindergartener.
Then the teacher told the children that she will step outside for a while and she will give another marsh mellow to whoever did not eat the first marsh mellow.
Not eating the marsh mellow is a very difficult temptation to the children.
Some ate the marsh mellow as soon as the teacher went out.
Some children tried very hard not to eat the marsh mellow but ended up eating before the teacher returned.
Some children waited for 15 minutes and as the teacher promised, they got another marsh mellow.
The experiment didn’t stop there but looked at how the children grew up in 15 years.
Those who waited for 15 minute and got another marsh mellow had higher SAT scores than other children.
Aside from the academics, they had better interpersonal relationship and leadership as well.
What could be the reason for that?
There could be many reasons but one of them could certainly be “hope.”
Because of hope, the children were able to wait for the marsh mellows and later, hope- most likely became the source of their successful and mature life.
What Jesus passed out at the file of Bethsaida to the hungry people was not the loaves and fish, but was the hope.
It was not the event of a miracle in feeding thousands of people, but it was the event of showing and sharing hope.
That’s right. Jesus is hope.
Jesus gave hope to these people, and ultimately became the hope.
He healed the people dying with disease.
He made the blind to see.
He cast out the evil spirits.
He made cripples able walk.
He changed the selfish people to share their possession with others.
Jesus gave them the life of hope.
Today, the ministry of Jesus Christ continues.
Jesus Christ is our true hope today as he was to the people of Galilee.
Jesus Christ comes to us to give us hope and to become our hope.
We are going through Advent, the season of waiting for the Lord.
We lighted the second candle of Advent today.
The second candle of Advent stands for hope.
We live our lives with many hopes.
We often look for hope in things that could give us joy and happiness because our lives are a series of hardship.
Some look for hope in money and some do in power and status.
Some look for hope in knowledge and some certainly do look for hope in their children.
Some consider their physical health as their hope.
But all of these can be hope for a brief moment.
But they all vanish too quickly.
Our only and permanent hope is in Jesus Christ.
Apostle Paul confesses in 1 Timothy that our only hope is Jesus Christ.
I pray that we all confess that Jesus Christ is our only hope.
One last thing, Jesus says to his disciples in verse 13,
“you give them something to eat.”
What does that mean?
That means you give them hope.
You give to hungry people food to eat.
You give hope to the people who are in despair and suffering.
The ultimate purpose of the teaching of Jesus Christ regarding the wealth and possession in the New Testament is sharing with others.
That is sharing hope.
That is spreading hope.
The World Food Plan (WFP) reported as follows about world’s poverty in 2013. Let me show you.
1. 800 million people go to bed hungry every night and most of them are women and children.
2. 200 million children under 5 are underweight due to poverty.
3. 24,000 people die daily due to hunger or related disease.
4. Children malnutrition cause mental or physical disorder.
5. Every 7 seconds, a child dies of hunger or related disease.
6. Yet there is enough food in the world to feed our entire humanity.
The tragedy as reported by WFP is all because the world is not sharing.
Jesus is speaking to us.
“You give them the food.”
“You give them the hope.”
I pray that we all can share the hope Jesus gave us.
Hope is needed in this time and age.
In our family, church and society, we all need hope.
Where can we find that hope?
Let us remember once again that Jesus Christ is our only hope.
During this Advent as we wait for Jesus Christ, which is our only hope, remember His words telling us “you give them hope.”
I bless you in the name of Jesus that all of us give the light of hope to the world and to those around us during this Advent. Amen.