Peter, Susan, and Lucy are with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver (Edmund is gone to find the White Witch). Mr. Beaver announces that Aslan is on the move, prompting the children to beg to hear about Aslan,
“For once again, that strange feeling—like the first signs of spring, like good news, had come over them.”
Mr. and Mrs. Beaver tell the children about Aslan, finishing with telling Lucy the truth about Aslan: “He isn’t safe”.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Hope is on the way. Winter is turning to spring for Aslan; the good King is on the move.
Living in days
- of pandemic,
- of racial strife,
- of church decline,
- of a loss of pastoral vocation and identity,
- of deep political divisions,
- of (you can fill in the blank);
leaders need to speak hope. According to the Gallup Organization, one of the four things leaders need to give their people is hope. Hope is a picture of a better tomorrow (the other three essentials are trust, compassion, and stability). Leaders need to speak this hope for all who are waiting and all who are longing for hope.
The hope leaders who follow Jesus isn’t an “I hope that happens” hope (a kind of wishful thinking hope) but a strong “this is going to happen” hope. Leaders declare, “Hope is on the way.”
A hope rooted in the hope of God’s good news. Isaiah tells us,
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse.” Isaiah 11
A shoot coming out of a stump is a biblical sign of hope. A shoot is coming out of a stump for all people in waiting, who are struggling amid difficulties. This is God’s way of saying: Hope is on the way, a new life, a new kingdom, a new king is on the way. A new king who is in the line of David, to be sure, but he will be so much better than that. That’s why we hear about a shoot coming up out of the stump of Jesse—Jesse was King David’s dad— rather than a shoot coming up out of David. God is saying, “David and his crew have messed this up, they have not been the kings they were supposed to be, so I’m starting again; going around David and back to Jesse…the shoot will come from the stump of Jesse.
A shoot, the king who brings hope. Who brings enduring hope. He is the king who is above all other kings, the king who no other king can control; no other king can have his way with this king. The only king who will survive from generation to generation, from empire to empire; for all other realms will be like that of Assyria. Listen to Isaiah 10.33-34, where God is talking about Assyria,
“See, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, will lop off the boughs with great power. The lofty trees will be felled, the tall ones will be brought low. He will cut down the forest thickets with an ax; Lebanon will fall before the Mighty One.” (Isaiah 10:32–34 NIV11)
The nations of the world will be cut down to stumps, but there will be a shoot coming out of Jesse, a ruler who will last forever, the only ruler who is King of kings, and Lord of lords. Here’s how we hear it in the New Testament,
[God the Father] raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1.20b-23
Hope is on the way, for there is a shoot coming out of the stump of Jesus. Hope because our past, present, and future are in the hands of this king who does all things well. Our hope is rooted in the reality that our past—whatever it has been for good, for ill; our present—whatever it is for good, for ill; our future—whatever it is for good, for ill is in the hands of the king who does all things well. Because our times are in the hands of the king who does all things well, we can say it is well with our soul.
This is the hope leaders proclaim. Leaders proclaim this hope and then call all who hear to live the ways of this king.
A king who may not be safe, but he is good.