Week 1: Hope
Good afternoon! Our devotional writer for today is Bradford Green. Many of you may not yet know Bradford as he is somewhat new to our community, having joined us this past August. Bradford serves as the Senior Campus Minister for RUF (Reformed University Fellowship) at TCU, and we’re happy to have him as a part of our RSL family. I’ve enjoyed getting to know Bradford – he has an easy presence that disarms you and invites you in. He is authentic and humble – two of my favorite qualities in people, and he has a deep and clear love for God. I hope you’ll enjoy his words for us today as we continue to journey together through this season of Advent.
Isaiah 9:2 (ESV)
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of darkness a light has dawned.
Like the great paintings of the Renaissance, the stark contrast in Scripture between dark and light creates a sense of drama: the drama of redemption. Isaiah’s prophecy of a “great light” coming into a world of darkness is fulfilled in Jesus, in whom God’s love becomes “flesh and blood and bone,” as TF Torrance said.
And what else would give hope to human beings of flesh and blood and bone? How could God bring “true light” (John 1:9) to our broken world and—darkest of all—our broken and sinful hearts? He didn’t send 10,000 angels, or thunder instructions at us from above. He came himself.
I often tell my students that showing up is like a superpower. I remind them that at times during the semester they will feel tired; it will be raining; they will have too much schoolwork, or Netflix will be calling their name (Netflix knows my own name pretty well). But showing up anyway over time multiplies their efforts the way interest multiplies a bank account. The truth is that we don’t need to be smarter, or have our workflow more together, or be more socially magnetic to have an impact on others. We just have to show up.
I’m convinced that this “superpower” is rooted in Jesus, who showed up for us when we most needed it and least deserved it. The darkness was not going to lift itself. We weren’t going to achieve our own righteousness. So God took it upon himself to set things right. And because the light has come once, we have faith that it will come again to rescue darkness walkers like us fully and finally. The light of Christ gives us hope.
Let us pray.
Lord, we pray that by the light of Christ you would forgive our sins and transform us into people who show up for others in love. Amen.