[b]Example Of Jesus In His Speech[/b]
[i]by Zac Poonen[/i]
Jesus used His tongue to encourage and admonish others, thereby making His tongue an instrument of life in God's Hand. He used His tongue to speak soothing words to the weary (Isa. 50:4), and also as a sword to cut down the proud and the haughty (Isa. 49:2).
How greatly encouraged the Roman centurion and the Syrophenician woman must have felt when they heard Jesus praise them for their faith, publicly (Mt. 8:10; 15:28). The sinful woman who was praised for her love (Lk. 7:47) and Mary of Bethany who was praised for her sacrificial offering (Mk. 14:6) would never have forgotten the words of Jesus.
How strengthened Peter must have been through Jesus' assurance that He would pray for him (Lk. 22:32). Just a few words, but what strength and encouragement they conveyed.
Many others must have heard words from Jesus' lips that lifted their weary spirits, for it says in Isaiah 50:4 that Jesus listened daily to His Father's voice so that He might have an appropriate word for the weary souls that came across His path each day.
The righteousness of Jesus was not one that gave Him a gloomy appearance. No. He was anointed with the oil of gladness (Heb. 1:9). He had such overflowing joy on the eve of His crucifixion, that He could say to His apostles, ".....that my joy may be in you" (Jn. 15:11). He went everywhere spreading that joy to joyless, dreary souls.
He was gentle with all men, never breaking a battered reed or quenching a dimly burning wick, (Mt. 12:20). He saw the good points in weak, sinful people and hoped for the best in everyone. He was the sort of person one longed to be with, for He was understanding, kind and gentle. Only the proud and those with secret sin avoided Him.
The love of Jesus was not sentimental. It sought the highest good of others. And so He did not hesitate to give a word of admonition where He saw that there was need for such a word. He rebuked Peter for trying to turn Him away from the cross - and that too with such strong words as, "Get behind Me, Satan" (Mt. 16:23).
He rebuked James and John for seeking places of honour and for wanting to take revenge on the Samaritans (Mt. 20:22,23; Lk. 9:55). And He rebuked His disciples seven times for their unbelief.
Jesus was never afraid of speaking the truth, even if it hurt others, for His heart was filled with love for them. He was not concerned whether His reputation for kindness would be lost by speaking strong words. He loved others more than Himself and so He was willing to sacrifice His reputation in order to help them. Therefore He spoke the truth firmly, lest men be ruined eternally. The eternal welfare of men mattered far more to Him than their opinions of Him.
It is the warmth of love in the words that we speak that produces fruit for the glory of God in others. Although there is plenty of light at the North and South Poles, nothing grows there, because of the lack of warmth.
Jesus saw that people were far more important than things. He loved men so greatly that He identified completely with them, and made them feel wanted. He shared their burdens and had words of kindness for the downtrodden, and words of encouragement for those defeated in life's battles. Never would He consider any human being as worthless. They may be crude or coarse, but they were still people who needed to be redeemed.
Jesus never belittled others or passed remarks or jokes about them that hurt them. He never made any subtle wounding statements. He never discussed the shortcomings of His disciples behind their backs. It is truly amazing that in three years, He never exposed Judas before the other eleven disciples - for even at the last supper, the eleven could not guess who was going to betray their Master.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon