“In his name the nations will put their hope.” — Matthew 12:21 (NIV84)
We continue our study on hope with that word’s first — and only — occurrence in the Gospel of Matthew. Believe it or not, Matthew’s only use of the word hope is a quotation of Isaiah 42. We are faced with a very interesting scene. Jesus and His disciples were just heavily criticized for picking heads of grain on the Sabbath. The Pharisees were so busy requiring a strict adherence to their legalistic interpretations of God’s word that they forgot the true spirit and meaning of God’s word. Jesus reminded them that the Lord desires mercy and not sacrifice. He went on to say that He (the Son of Man) was Lord of the Sabbath. Jesus then went into their synagogue and there He met a man with a shriveled hand. Jesus used this encounter to teach. He asked the Pharisees whether it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath. He reminded them that if an animal fell into a well on the Sabbath they would pull it out. But what about this man? Should he be healed on the Sabbath? All Jesus got was silence from the religious leaders. Jesus looked at the man with the shriveled hand and said, “Stretch out your hand.” And he was healed. How did the Pharisees respond? Verse 12 tells us that they “went out and plotted a way to kill Jesus.” Jesus, knowing their intent, left the area and continued His ministry to people who were sick and in need. It is in reference to this continued ministry that Matthew quoted Isaiah 42, stating that “In his name the nations will put their hope.”
Even under attack, our God remains faithful and true to His promise to redeem and to save the lost. No threat of man or woman will stop the spreading of His kingdom. Jesus was on a mission that no one could stop. And He still is. It doesn’t matter how far our society goes to try to suppress the truth about the Christian message. The body of Christ will continue to reach the lost with the saving message of eternal life in Jesus Christ. People who are sick and in need of help will always find a healer in Jesus. He is Lord, not of just the Sabbath but of all the earth. This is why the nations put their hope in Him. All over the world there are believers in Jesus in societies that would suppress their hope just like the Pharisees attempted to do. But their efforts are in vain. The Lord will not let any earthly power stop His work among us.
It is in this reality that we put our hope.