Everyone longs for hope, and in most cases it is either fanned into flame or extinguished with words. King Solomon had it right: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
Jesus constantly spoke life-giving words of hope to those around Him. Look, for example, at Zaccheus, the famously short tax collector who climbed a tree to see the Savior over the people’s heads. He was a notorious swindler and a cheat, yet Jesus shocked the crowd and spoke hope over this outcast by proclaiming, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham.”
The Lord often turned the tables on public opinion. John chapter 8 tells of a woman caught in the very act of adultery whom the scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus for trial. The Savior, however, tried the accusing mob according to their own distorted application of the law. Then, after the last embarrassed witness had walked away, He asked the astonished but relieved adulteress if anyone was present to condemn her. “No one, Lord,” she said. Then came studding words of hope: “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” And with that a woman as good as dead was freed–more than that, free.
Even in the midst of excruciating pain and torture, Jesus spoke words of hope to a criminal dying on the cross next to His own. “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom,” the condemned man cried. The Savior, Himself nearing death, saw that faith had arisen in his fellow prisoner’s midnight hour and responded with compassion. “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with me in Paradise.”
What hope to give to a dying man!