God promised Abraham a land and many descendants—but decades passed and it didn’t look like either promise was going to come true. But just when Abraham was resigned to naming his servant as his heir, the Lord showed Abraham the stars in the sky and said, “So shall your offspring be” (Gen. 15:5). The New Testament says, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him” (Rom. 4:18).
As we’ve seen throughout this month, hope is not a passive wish. Hope actively makes choices based on our trust in the promises of God. Abraham’s hope—even against all hope—blossomed into the birth of a nation chosen and blessed by God. Through Abraham, Jesus was born, the promised blessing that would come to all nations. In fact, our passage today declares that Jesus Himself is the location of hope for all people.
The Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus with their question about healing on the Sabbath. Jesus not only upended their pious categories, He also extended healing mercy to the man with the withered hand (vv. 9–13).
Notice that Jesus’ acts of healing are cited as examples of how He was the fulfillment of the Servant described in Isaiah (see Isa. 42:1–4). He would not break a bruised reed or snuff out a smoldering wick—Jesus knew how much people around Him were suffering and He responded in love and miraculous power (vv. 15, 20).
Jesus was the blessing to the nations promised to Abraham; He is the hope of the nations prophesied by Isaiah; and one day He will be worshiped by all the nations (Phil. 2:10–11). We can have hope because of His justice and tender mercy.