Summary: What we say can have a lasting effect on who we are saying it too. The art of communication is just as deadly as the art of war.

Matthew 22:15 KJV Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.

In the coral reefs of the Caribbean, live a small fish know as the Kissing Fish. It only grows to about two to three inches long. It is mostly known because of its quickness and the fact that it always appears to be kissing. This fish will kiss anything around it. On occasion, you will see two of these fish kissing each other. Now this is a delight to watch (we always seem to have three or four of them when I was growing up). When these fish kiss, their fins seem to thrashing, lips pressed together ... appearing of a serious underwater romance.

But looks can be deceiving. Although they are fun to watch, hoping to see a kiss, they are very territorial. They are actually little pint-sized bullies. Ferociously territorial, the kissing fish has laid claims to its space and wants no visitors. What’s his is his, and he wants nobody around. He found it, he staked it, and will terrorize anything that comes near this space.

Challenge these boundaries and this little fish will take you on. Jaw to Jaw. This appearance of underwater romance is actually underwater martial arts.

Mouth pushing

Lip locking, literal jawboning his opponent.

Power moves with the tongue.

Sounds funny?

Sounds familiar?

We do not have to go to the Caribbean to see this in action. We can just look closely at the people in the world ... in work ... in church ... in home ... in the mirror.

It used to be that one would settle a dispute with fists, or gunfights. But now we use a more sophisticated weapon. The tongue.

Just like the kissing fish, we can disguise our fights or disagreements. We call it debating, when in reality it is just protecting our territory.

This was the case the week before Jesus was crucified. Before the whips snapped, words were hurled. Before the nails were hammered, accusations were made. Before Jesus bore the cross, he had to bare the tongue beatings of the religious leaders.

Let’s take a look at three cases.

Show me your Diploma

The procedure for being recognized as a religious leader was simple. Candidates had to be chosen by a leading rabbi, then spend quite a few years as a student and a servant. This however led to a wide spread of variance in teachings and qualifications. So, the high Jewish council, the Sanhedrin took over the responsibility. At the completion of this period of learning, a man was given authority to teach, express, and render verdicts. Only under the authority of the Sanhedrin. This is fair, safeguard.

And so this brought out the question, “What authority do you have to do these things”? “Who gave you this authority”?

Now, had the question stemmed from concern towards the purity of the temple, or the integrity of their position, then there would not have been a problem. But in reality, the Sanhedrin was only interested in protecting their territory. They feared the response of the people, worried about what the crowds may have thought. They did not learn the first lesson of leadership ... A man who wants to lead the orchestra, must first turn his back on the crowd.

So here they are, the created asking the creator about his credentials. The pot asking the potter to show some form of I.D. Forgetting about the miracles, forgetting about the blind, the sick, the deaf. They weren’t even going to question His teaching. Just show us your ordination papers. Did you come from the right school or seminary, do you belong to the right denomination. Does He have the proper credentials, issued by us, the Sanhedrin?

They suffered from the misconception that titles make a difference. They have an impression that earthly authority will make a heavenly difference.

Take this quiz....

Name the wealthiest men in the world.

Name at least five Heisman trophy winners.

Name at least five winners of the Miss America contest.

How about ten people who won the Noble Peace Prize.

Academy award winners ...

World Series ...

How did you do?

Achievements, trophies, certificates are buried with owners. Try this one...

Name three people you enjoy spending time with.

Name ten who taught you something worth while

Name five people who have helped you in time of need.

A little easier. The people who make a difference are not the ones with the credentials, but the ones who show concern.

The Sword in the scabbard.

The Pharisees ... made plans to trap Jesus into saying something wrong. “Teacher, we know that you are an honest man, and that you teach the truth about God’s way. You are not afraid of what others think about you, because you pay no attention to who they are. So tell us, is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

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