Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nourishing Words - December 10th, 2008

Mt.7:29 - “He taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” One of my favorite characteristics of Jesus is His speech. He never wasted an interaction or conversation but everyone He ever encountered He challenged to the core; He spoke every word so directly and powerfully that it left the hearer cornered and cut to the very heart. I am reminded of Jim Elliot’s words, written in his journal, “Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” It is so easy to talk “safely” not making the most of every opportunity (Col.4:5), speaking the Truth in love (Eph.4:15). Jesus took every one of those risks. Remember the guards sent to arrest Him who couldn’t follow through on their orders because they were so impressed with His speech, saying, in Jn.7:46, “No one ever spoke the way this man does.” I am reminded of so many examples: how He rebuked the religious leaders of His day (Mt.23:27), how He challenged the arrogant (Mt.19:16-30), how He showed mercy to the contrite (Jn.8:1-11), how He comforted the hurting (Jn.11:17-27), how He taught (Mk.10:1), how He witnessed (Mr.1:15), how He related to His disciples (Jn.15), when He spoke (Jn.8:12) and when He was silent (Mt.26:63). Jesus didn’t budge an inch but spoke the Truth in such a way that it could not be misunderstood (Jn.14:6). So many Christians have adopted the “preach the gospel at all times, use words if necessary” approach (that miserable quote being falsely attributed to St. Francis of Assisi), neglecting to realize or choosing to disobey the Christian’s call and command to speaking His Word (2 Tim.4:2), too often following Moses’ example of insecurity (Ex.4:1-17). I want to follow Jesus’ precedent of bold, challenging and encouraging speech - Pr.10:21 - “The lips of the righteous nourish many…”

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