I pray also that you will have greater understanding in your heart so you will know the hope to which he has called us and that you will know how rich and glorious are the blessings God has promised his holy people. Ephesians 1:18 (NCV)
It wasn’t the teachings of Jesus that drew people to him. It was his character. That may seem strange to say. We focus our energies on what Jesus taught, and to be sure, those teachings are the basis of life. The things Jesus taught us bring hope from despair, confidence when we are afraid; wisdom when we are worried; direction when we don’t know the way. But the reality is, the blind man wasn’t able to fully understand the spiritual blessings Jesus had to offer until his vision was restored. The parents who lost their little girl no doubt knew that God was a mighty and powerful God, but the full realization of what that meant didn’t come until their little girl sat up in the very bed she’d died in moments earlier. The father who sought Jesus out for healing for his demon possessed son knew the power of prayer. Why else would he seek Jesus out? Still, until he saw his son in a normal, calm state of mind, he didn’t fully grasp the significance of the hope Jesus offered.

Jesus’ teachings simply backed up, clarified, and verified what he’s already done in the lives of people who were in need. No wonder that in the garden he prays for those who will seek him after he is gone. He understood the difficulty we have as finite humans to believe without seeing; to hope in the unseen; to live by faith when prayers seem unanswered, and life is unbearable.

As Christ-followers we are called to show others the hope they can have in Christ. What an awesome privilege! So many are looking for hope in today’s world. Hope to get through physical pain and illness. Hope to endure the pain of relational disaster. Hope to endure one more day of starvation or the ravages of natural disaster.

Paul prays that we will understand the hope Jesus has called us to. Why this prayer? Paul also knew, perhaps better than any of us what it meant to be rejected, alone, in danger, despised and rejected. But he also knew the hope only Jesus can offer. People around us aren’t seeking profound teachings or messages of a better tomorrow. They are seeking strength to get through one more day. What can we do to show them the hope of Christ? That answer is different for each of us because we each live in different situations, different circles, and different circumstances.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I am surrounded by people who are seeking hope in a world where hope seems dwindling at best. I praise you for the hope you have shown me and the blessings of living in you. Empower me with strength, courage and wisdom to lead those around me to the hope I’ve found in you. Amen.

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