“Hope” expresses an eager expectation that is always based upon a promise. Unlike the English word, the original Greek does not include the concept of “a wishful desire”; rather, expressing a ready anticipation based upon confidence or trust.

In the crucifixion of Christ, He had hope because God the Father had given Him a promise that He would not leave His soul in Hades, nor would His flesh see corruption. Therefore, He did not face the cross with wishful thinking, but in eager expectation concerning the promise given to Him.

Because of this My heart praises and My tongue rejoices, indeed still also My flesh rests upon hope, because You will not abandon My soul in Hades, nor give Your pious One to see corruption – Acts 2:26-27

Herod had desired for a long time to see Jesus, because he hoped (eagerly expected) that Jesus would perform some sign for him, Luke 23:8. Herod knew of what Jesus was doing among the people and the signs and wonders that He had performed; however, his hope was not about believing in the Christ, but for entertainment. And when Christ refused to answer him, he and his men of war mistreated Jesus. Later, Herod is struck with worms and dies when he claims to be a god, Acts 12:21-23.

The hope we find on the road to Emmaus with two of the disciples after the resurrection of Christ expresses an eager expectation because they had anticipation that Jesus was the Messiah and would restore Israel, a hope based upon God’s promise; however, the Chief Priests and rulers of Israel delivered Him over to be condemned to death and crucified. Therefore, even though they expected that Jesus was the Messiah, for He was a Prophet that did mighty works and words before God and all the people, from their perspective their hope became wishful thinking when He was put to death. However, the reality is that Jesus is the Messiah, just as Scripture stated that Christ must first suffer these things to come into His glory, and after the resurrected Christ opened their minds to understand Scripture their hope was found to be true, Luke 24:13-25.

When it comes to hope that is based upon a promise, it is not wishful thinking, but eager expectation, Romans 8:24-25. Faith is the underlying substance of that which is hoped for, and what is hoped for is always based upon a promise; therefore, without faith there is no hope, Hebrews 11:1. Concerning the promises the Christian has from God, as recorded in Scripture, hope is not a matter of if what is desired will come to be, but of when the promises given will be fulfilled. Therefore, Christians should be basing their hope upon promises given to the Church so that faith will impact their actions to live a life based upon what God has said.

Because hope is based upon a promise, love expresses hope concerning what a person states they will do, 1 Corinthians 13:7, for true love always seeks the best for the one loved and therefore will give them the shadow of the doubt concerning their promises. However, love also does not rejoice in unrighteousness but in truth and subsequently will not allow another to take advantage of it, 1 Corinthians 13:8, because that would not be what is best for the one loved.

When it comes to the Christian life, and the hope that we have in Christ, it is not a hope that is only in this life, for if it was, we would be most pitiful of men, 1 Corinthians 15:19. However, the truth of the matter is that Christ has raised from the dead and therefore our hope is not wishful thinking, but an eager expectation concerning our fellowship in His death and resurrection, for when we see Him we will be like Him, 1 John 3:2.

Since hope is not wishful thinking, but rather an eager expectation, if we are expressing a wish in what we desire from God, we need to reexamine what we are putting our hope in. Hope is always based upon a promise and therefore our confidence relies upon the one making the promise. Taking the promises that belong to others and claiming them as yours is not hope but presumption. God made specific promises to Israel that He will fulfill that are different to the promises to the Church, for our covenant is built upon better promises, Hebrews 8:6. Therefore, let us put our hope (eager expectation) in what God has said, not what we wish He would do.