Summary: Find out what it means to hang on every word of Jesus, just as the crowds did during the life of Jesus.
Welcome to Day 36 in our 50-Day Adventure! Today’s theme is Scripture, and we find ourselves in Luke 19 where we see a very intriguing set of words. Yes, there is an interesting phrase in Luke’s gospel, chapter 19 and verse 48. I’d like you to turn to it, would you? In fact, I want you to circle this phrase in your Bible…
“…all the people hung on his words.”
Literally, that phrase translates into something like this:
“all the people were very attentive to his speaking.”
This was the predominant characteristic of his followers: they were captivated by his teaching! That’s the meaning behind the word “hung” – it means “to be very attentive to; captivated by.” It is only used this one time in the New Testament, but it is used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament four times, three of those times in Nehemiah. Each time it is translated ‘attentive,’ and describes an intense sense of attention to someone’s words, voice, or person. This is how the common people responded to Jesus and his teaching –they were riveted on his message!
This was how his ministry started – Luke 2:47, which is about his temple visit as a 12 year-old boy, says, “Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.” Even as a boy he was a captivating teacher!
This continued, for Luke 4:36, which describes an account that happened even before he selected his disciples when he was about 30, says, “All the people were amazed and said to each other, ‘What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out.”
His supernatural ability to communicate God’s words continued right up until the end, for Luke 20:19, which is part of the last week of his life, says, “…they [teachers of the law and chief priests] looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.”
And why were they afraid of the people? Because the people listened to Jesus so attentively, hanging on his every word! They were amazed with his authority! To kill Jesus without some kind of consensus, as contrived as it would have been, would have been political suicide for the leaders! In the words of the 21st century, Jesus had the people “in the palm of his hand.”
You see, as Christ brought his ministry to a climax, which is what we’ve been learning about in these recent chapters of Luke, one issue surfaced above all others: Authority! In other words, the question above all others became, “Who do you think you are?”
…his authority over the temple in Luke 19:46. He cleared out the dwellers who weren’t supposed to occupy it, and declared it to be “my house.” In fact, the construction of the Greek language in 19:46 suggests that “my house” is the emphatic portion of the verse. That’s ownership and authority!
…his authority over the leaders in Luke 20. It is amazing how many times his authority was questioned in Luke 20:1-40. In fact, there were three questions, each designed to trap him so that his credibility and authority would be undermined. In their minds, if they could show him as a man of duplicity or as a man of ignorance, then his popularity would decrease and they would retain power. But it didn’t work!
You see, the religious leaders saw him as a threat, but the people saw him as the truth! The religious leaders saw things through their wisdom, but the people saw things through Jesus’ words. And it is precisely because they welcomed his authority – because they accepted him as truth – that the people, not the religious leaders or law teachers, “hung on his words.”
That same battle rages today in the life of every human being: Are the words of Jesus a threat or truth? Do we hang on his words or do we hate his words?
Essentially, we deal with the same issue that surfaces in this text: “Who is the authority for your life?” In other words, what do you live by – God’s Word or Man’s Wisdom?
Let me boldly and clearly proclaim this morning: I take my stand on the B-I-B-L-E! Yes, that’s the book for me! I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E!
I want to have the same attitude about the Bible and its authority and value as the famous missionary, Dr. David Livingstone. When he started his trek across Africa he had 73 books in 3 packs, weighing 180 pounds. After the party had gone 300 miles, Livingstone was compelled to throw away some of the books because of the fatigue of those carrying his baggage. As he continued on his journey his library grew less and less, until he had but one book left—his Bible. That was a non-negotiable!