6th March 2014

With Hope 

“He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…”
Isaiah 61:1 (NIV)

Sadly, we live in a world that is riddled with stress. Our culture’s answer is to encourage us to hide away in a world of entertainment, to live in an almost magical existence. Yet, even the best fantasies cannot take away the pain of hopelessness. 

Now is science supposed to solve all this? Our best efforts so far don’t appear to have worked. Unfortunately, there are some who turn to violence, believing that radical action can work where other means have failed. Might may often feel like right, but too often it just feeds into more sadness that stalks the earth. 

Yet, there is a better way. There is One who continues to offer hope even in the darkest moments.

In a letter to the Ephesian church, Paul reminded the congregation that they were previously “without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). But Paul had good news for them: “…now in Christ Jesus you who were once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (verse 13). That same message of hope is still available to us today, whatever circumstance or trial we find ourselves in.

There is hope for us all – right now! Almost 2,000 years ago, Jesus stood in a synagogue and read these encouraging words from Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Luke 4:18-19). As the congregation pondered this reading, Jesus sat down and declared, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (verse 21). 

It is as true for us today, in the 21st Century, as it was when Jesus first proclaimed this hope. We may feel stressed, sad or even oppressed, but Jesus promises to bind up our broken-heartedness. And that is a promise worth holding on to. 

Please Holy Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit, authors of the Bible, please do show to us all that none of our suffering is just meaningless chaos. Please help us to understand that our hope is real. We ask this in Jesus’ Holy Name.

Study by John Merchant


johnmerchantAbout the Author:
John Merchant attends the Nottingham Grace Communion, a congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Nottingham Grace Communion
Lucy Brown Hall
Attenborough Lane

Meeting time:
Saturday 2pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Ian Woodley
Email:  ian_woodley@wcg.org.uk

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