Optimism.. Adapted from a sermon by John Watson, 1850-1907.
Go ye therefore and teach all nations.—Matthew 28:19.
Among the characteristics of Jesus’ teaching which have passed into the higher consciousness of Christianity is an inextinguishable optimism.
When He was only a village prophet, Jesus declared that the social Utopia of Isaiah was already being fulfilled;
Luke 4:18-19 (NKJV) “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
TO PROCLAIM THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”
Isaiah continues to prophesy the glorious future of the nation of Israel which we have not yet seen but it will come to pass. I agree with the many who see the modern nation of Israel as a preparation for the restoration of the Kingdom of God in the Holy Land.
Isaiah 61:4 (NKJV) And they shall rebuild the old ruins, They shall raise up the former desolations, And they shall repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations.
- …when He gave the Sermon on the Mount He spoke as a greater Moses, legislating not for a nation but for a race…. (not only for the Jewish nation but for the human race).
Matthew 5:5 (ESV) “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
- If He called apostles, they were to disciple every creature, and if He died it was for a world.
John 3:16 (ESV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
- His generation might condemn Him, but they would see Him again on the clouds of heaven.
Mark 14:61-62 (NKJV) But He kept silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”
Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
- His death would be celebrated in a sacrament unto every generation, and being lifted on a cross He would draw all men to Him.
John 12:32 (ESV) And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
- The apostles who failed in His lifetime would afterward do greater works than Himself,
John 14:12 (ESV) “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.
- and He who departed from their sight would return in the Holy Ghost and be with them forever.
John 14:16-19 (ESV) And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
The great Apostle Paul suffered terrible hardships and constant persecution, yet his writings are full of FAITH, HOPE and LOVE.
Many say they have hope because they expect to go to heaven or because they believe Jesus will come again.
This is good and but true Christian HOPE is more than expecting to go to heaven. It is an attitude of expecting the best and not being overly discouraged by disappointments.
Oral Roberts, a famous American evangelist, often received supernatural words of wisdom to share when he preached. Two of the most powerful were these:
- EXPECT A MIRACLE EVERY DAY
- SOMETHING GOOD IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME
This is the Jesus kind of optimism, expecting the best every day and also to hope for great things in the future.
Kleiser, Grenville, comp. The World’s Great Sermons – Volume IX: Cuyler to Van Dyke. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1908. WORDsearch CROSS e-book.