but because the jews objected, i was compelled to appeal to caesar—though i had no charge to bring against my nation. for this reason, therefore, i have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of israel that i am wearing this chain.” [acts 28:19-20] 



it is because of the hope of israel that i am wearing this chain…


the messiah had come. he had ransomed captive israel. God’s chosen people now could be free from bondage and oppression and have life abundant in Jesus Christ; eternal life that could never be taken away in spite of bondage and oppression in a worldly sense. Jesus was and is the hope of israel. he was the hope of the nation, and he was and is now the hope of his bride, the church, the spiritual nation of israel, to which we as gentiles have been grafted in. praise the Lord!


all of paul’s trials, all of his pain, all of his hardships and dangers, imprisonments and chains, had been for the purpose of spreading the hope of israel. this probably was no surprise to paul, since Jesus had said many times that this would happen. 


then he said to them, “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. but before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. this will be your opportunity to bear witness. settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. you will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. [luke 21:10-17]


paul knew he would suffer for the hope of israel, but he was willing to lay down his life for this calling because he knew that it was worth it to bring many sons to glory! 


we have this same hope. we have knowledge of the Savior and a world that is desperate for him! but are we risking life and limb for the hope of israel? are we even risking job loss or career change? are we even risking family tension or severed relationships? are we even risking an awkward conversation? are we risking anything?


we can be sure of hardships when we are bold with the gospel. the world does not understand our love for God because they do not know God.


see what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. the reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. [1 john 3:1]


but we cannot hold back because we fear the hatred of man! we have too great a message for the ears that would hear it! we cannot fear chains of imprisonment, and we cannot even fear death. Jesus has paved the way for us to life, and so we follow him in his death. it is our purpose in life to bring him glory. it is our mission to follow and live like our Savior. are you boldly proclaiming his name?


Father, forgive us in our weakness. forgive our fear of man, and forgive our craving for comfort and ease. put a spirit of boldness within us, and show us where you would have us proclaim the hope of israel!


~arwen eastman