Words matter – for good or for ill. What does the trial of Jesus before Pilate in John 19.1-16a teach us about words? Have a listen:
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It’s one word that nearly everybody can identify with. For many people, it’s what fuels their lives. Hope is what makes people put one foot in front of the other, what makes people decide to get out of bed for the day.
I hope I will have a better day at work than I did yesterday.
I hope I will do well on this test.
I hope my spouse will not get cancer.
Sometimes, hope is misdirected, though, isn’t it? We can hope for something that we think might solve our problems.
I hope I will win the lottery.
I hope I will get a big inheritance so I’ll never have to work again.
I hope that nasty so-and-so falls into a pit and is never seen again.
Even hope can have its ugly side. But that’s not what God intended.
Hope is invariably tied to faith. What we hope for is often what we place our faith in. If you re-read those “I hope” statements, they can all seem pretty vapid, even when the best of intentions are behind them.
There is a lovely little gospel hymn that reminds us where to direct our hope:
My hope is in the Lord
Who gave himself for me,
And paid the price for all my sin
For me he died, for me he lives,
And everlasting life and light he freely gives.
Jesus is the one on whom we rightly place our hope, because it is in him that we rightly place our faith. Is your hope in Jesus?
“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11.1, NLT).