THE OPTIMISM OF JESUS

Feb 23, 2021 | Gilbert’s Podcast

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by Gilbert Kimeng | Jesus the Same

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by Gilbert Kimeng | Jesus the Same

About This Episode

THE OPTIMISM OF JESUS

“Be of good cheer.” – John 16:33

  • By optimism I do not mean the thoughtless, happy-go-lucky buoyancy which so often calls itself by this pretentious name.
  • There is a sentimental optimism which is irrational and immoral.

o   It is the product of a shallow brain and stupid heart.

o   It shuts its eyes to all hideous facts and stops its ears to all horrible sounds, and insists that, in spite of all appearances, all is well with the world.

  • This sort of optimism faces the future with a confidence born not of courage but of moral indolence.

o   No such optimism as this is known in the New Testament.

o   If we have our superficial optimists, we have also our shallow and short-sighted pessimists. There are men who have a genius for seeing shadows.

o   Their ears are keen for discords.

  • But from the grinning optimist and the hysterical pessimist, we can expect little. They have nothing to offer toward the solution of the great world problems.

GODLY OPTIMISM

  • Let us open our New Testament and listen to a man who, in these confused and distracting times, can give us confidence and hope.
  • Jesus of Nazareth was not a man who could shut his eyes to the sorrow and the heartbreak of the world. Never were eyes wider open than his. He saw everything.
  • Underneath the tragedy of suffering, he saw the darker tragedy of sin and recognized as no one else the tremendous power of evil.
  • He knew, as no other has ever known so well, that evil must be resisted, that sin must be faced and grappled with, that it is only by struggle, suffering and death that the victory can be won.
  • But he remained nevertheless undaunted. He saw both sides – the bright side and the dark side – and having faced both sides, his face had light on it.
  • He never surrendered; his head was always up, and his unfailing exhortation is, “Be of good cheer!” (John 16:33).
  • This is the dominating note of the New Testament. It comes up out of the heart of the worst tragedy which our world has known.
  • It gives us the life of one who was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. It portrays his sufferings through the cruel, disappointing years to his horrible death upon the cross. And yet, despite this heart-breaking story, the New testament does not depress us or leave a shadow on the heart.
  • It is a jubilant, exhilarating book, and the words which linger longest in the ear are, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
  • The New Testament is a gospel, a bit of glorious news, because at the center of it there lives and works the world’s greatest optimist.
  • Here is the optimist whom we have been looking for. This is the man who can inspire our confidence and give us hope.
  • We cannot follow a leader who keeps crying, “Peace,” when we know that there is not peace; nor can we trust a teacher who asserts that all is well, when his assertion is contradicted daily by the experience of the world.
  • Give us a man who feels the fury of the storm and is also certain of the calm which is going to follow.
  • Jesus is the prince of optimists – his optimism is the optimism of God Himself.

 

UNWAVERING TRUST

  • Let us try to find the secret of Jesus’ optimism.  The secret is written large across the pages of the Gospel. It was an abiding confidence in God.
  • His vision was unclouded. His trust was absolute. To Him God was an ever-present Father. This is the name he carried on his lips when a boy of twelve; it was on his lips when he passed from this world into the other.
  • He placed it on the lips of every man who followed him. It constantly amazed him that men had so little faith in God. “Have faith in God.” (Mark 11:22).
  • This was the exhortation to live his life and do his work. The words came with the power of a revelation, because they were warm with the blood of a heart which knew the secret of perfect trust.
  • Along with unswerving trust in God, there went an unshakable confidence that men could change.

o   He saw the possibilities and capacities of the human heart. He saw men’s littleness, frailties, vices and sins, but underneath all these he saw a soul created in God’s image.

  • He had confidence not only in people who “went to church,” but also in people who never went.
  • He had hope for the Publicans and sinners. He knew that Zacchaeus could repent and that Matthew could become a preacher. He believed that men and women who have fallen all the way to the bottom can climb back again.
  • “The harlots are going into the Kingdom before you!” – thus he spoke to a company of heard-hearted pessimists.
  • Nor could any experience break down this trust in the divine capacities of human nature. When has a man had greater reason to abandon the faith in men.

o   He lived in a corrupt and demoralizing age. Government was both tyrannical and rotten. Its officials were, for the most part, cynics and grafters.

o   The Jewish church was formal, lifeless and hypocritical. Its leaders, many of them, were dead to the movements of God’s Spirit.

o   Society was distinctly corrupt. Jesus himself was suspected, misrepresented, hated. He was surrounded by liars wherever he went.

o   No matter what he said, his sentences were twisted, and no matter what he did, his motives were questioned. Such treatment is apt to sour the heart of anyone who is long subjected to it. Jesus was maltreated all the way.

  • But he never gave up on the fact that men could change. When he saw that men were determined to take his life, he said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me!”
  • He sees the shallowness, the pettiness, the frailty of the heart; but he also sees its capacities, its possibilities, the mustard-seed germs of virtues and graces which the Spirit of God can unfold.
  • We measure men too much by their powers, and not enough by their capacities, by what they are today and not what they may become later on.  It was because the eyes of Jesus swept the future that he could stand around the wreckage of a race in ruins and say, “Be of good cheer!”

CONFIDENCE IN YOU

  • This indomitable Optimist has confidence in you. You have no hope for yourself. He has. You see your weakness, sordidness, vileness; he sees deeper, and seeing deeper, he has hope for you. 
  • He sees your capacity for God. He knows what you can do when you have come to your senses.
  • He sees deeper also into God. You have no adequate conception of the patience or the mercy of the Infinite Father. He has. You do not know what Infinite love can accomplish. He does.
  • Because of your transgressions, you have lost faith in yourself. He has not. Because you have failed a thousand times, you say there is no use trying any more. He says, “Try again!” If you give yourself to him, he will make you an optimist!

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