The S S Hope was a hospital ship. Having voyaged from 1960 until 1974, it was the first peacetime vessel in the world.
And it lived up to its name.
The ship was equipped with typical facilities found in a typical hospital. Its mission was to provide medical and surgical care to the sick and disabled to countries around the world. The goal was to provided health and opportunity for people everywhere.
The S S Hope was originally a US Navy hospital ship, the USS Consolation. Interestingly, Consolation was turned to Hope when it was donated to Project HOPE in 1958. HOPE is an acronym for Help Opportunities for People Everywhere.
Project HOPE continues as an international health care organization found in the United States. Ever since the S S Hope ship was retired, Project HOPE has changed to land-based operations in Germany and the United Kingdom as well as the US.
While we can appreciate the efforts put forth by Project HOPE and the years the S S Hope brought hope to many people in distant lands, the Bible talks about an even greater hope for all the world. Titus 2:11 through 15 reads,
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds,” (New American Standard Bible, NASB).
You will notice the phrase I’ve put in bold type, “the blessed hope”. It’s the hope of all hope because it’s about something more than wishful thinking. It doesn’t come from any human theory or philosophy or fantasy of some kind. Rather, it’s the hope that comes from the inspiration of God’s own Word which teaches something far greater and better than anything we could ever imagine or wish for.
In his book, Systematic Theology, the late Dr. Alva G. Huffer gave a fitting description of this hope. He wrote,
“Hope equals desire plus expectation. Desire minus expectation equals a mere wish. Expectation minus desire equals dread. Hope must include both desire (Proverbs 13:12) and expectation (Prov. 10:28). He who hopes for something to happen wants that event to occur and expects it to happen.”
Titus 2:13 places that “blessed hope” in anticipation of a future time—namely, at the “glorious appearing” of Jesus Christ. The fact that the blessed hope of Christ and his next coming occupies one out of every 25 verses from the Gospel of Matthew to the Book of Revelation shows the importance of hope for the church.
Dr. Huffer went on to say,
“Christians have many hopes for the future. The one hope which supersedes all other hopes, however, is the return of Christ, because it will make all other hopes possible. The blessed hope, our Lord’s return, is the open door to God’s Tomorrow.
The believer’s hope is centered not in a thing, but in a person, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Since God’s beloved Son is the person in whom we put our hope (Colossians 1:27), we know we can put our trust and faith in it. Jesus is the One who brings hope alive when all other hope falls short of making our dreams and desires come true. Through Christ, we are sure without a shadow of doubt that the blessed hope will be fulfilled. And this gives us the incentive to live for him—to let him transform our lives so that we’ll be prepared for his return.
The desire and expectation of believers is to “…be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time,” (1 Peter 1:3-5).
In this present age, our hope of all hope is being reserved in heaven where Jesus is interceding as Mediator between God and humankind (1 Timothy 2:5). When Jesus returns, he will fulfill that hope and bring with him the reward of eternal life for all believers (Revelation 22:12). This is the inheritance that will never fade away— immortality (1 Corinthians 15:50-58)—and which includes the new earth, restored (Acts 3:19-21); co-rulership with Jesus (Romans 8:17) when he reigns over the nations (Rev. 17:14; 19:16) bringing true justice for all (Psalm 72:1-7) with Paradise conditions (Rev. 21:4; 22:12) covering all the earth (Daniel 7:14, 27; Isaiah 11:9).
Now that’s what I call the hope of all hope! And it’s available for people everywhere!
Good News to YOU!
P.S. Here’s Bible Truth Music presenting, “I’m Looking for That Blessed Hope,” http://youtu.be/6s1XKt0m8oY