Summary: how Jesus words are powerful and effective for life
November 16, 2003 John 5:25-29
25 I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.
“I tell you the truth”. Jesus said this more than once in Scriptures. What he literally said was, “amen, amen.” “Amen” is one of the only words in the history of language that has retained the same sound and meaning throughout the ages. It has meant and sounded the same in Hebrew, Greek, Latin and English. It is almost identical -- to the Hebrew word for “believe”, or “faithful”. Thus, it came to mean “sure” or “truly”, an expression of absolute trust and confidence. So when Jesus started this section of God’s Word with “amen,” Jesus was calling our attention to a universal and lasting truth - something you can bank on and trust in - an “amen.”
Indirectly Jesus was making a contrast between HIS words and those of the world. The older I get, the more cynical I have become of people’s words - the words of the world. I don’t know how many times people have looked me in the eye and say, “I’ll be in church this Sunday,” and then never show up. I had one guy come to church and also call me and ask for money, telling me how he had three children in Topeka and needing money. Instead, I offered him food - got it out and by the door, and he never showed up. Several months later, I saw the same guy in a parking lot, and this time he told me he was from Lawrence and stranded needing gas money to get home. How a guy like that can look someone in the face and lie makes me sick. Words like these end up meaning nothing to me because they’re cheap. They come a dime a dozen, and they have no legs.
Really, my words aren’t much better. When I tell myself that I need to go and visit someone who has been neglecting the Word of God, or have devotions with my wife and children EVERY day, but then opt to find other things to do, I realize that for me also, “words are cheap.” What we say we’ll do and what we do are two different things. Think about how disgusted God must be with us for so often going back on our word. If you say you’re going to do something - if you make a commitment - you should hold to it. There’s a consolation to our legless words. In contrast to what we so often do,
The Words of Christ Have Legs
I. They give spiritual life now
As Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee, a synagogue ruler by the name of Jairus fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” Shortly thereafter, however, some men came from Jairus household and told Jairus his daughter had died. Jesus ignored what they said and told the ruler, “don’t be afraid, just believe.” Would his words hold true? When Jesus arrived, everyone was crying and carrying on, as would be expected at the death of a little girl. But Jesus said, “what are you crying for, the child is just asleep.” “Ha,” the people thought and laughed. “These are the words of a madman - he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” In their minds, Jesus was just speaking words without legs. They had seen that the girl was clearly dead, so Jesus didn’t know what he was talking about. Jesus walked into the room with the parents and Peter, James, and John. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. Jesus was not just speaking lifeless words - His words - “Talitha koum” - were able to raise this girl from the dead. It had nothing to do with how well the girl could hear - she was dead and deaf. No, the power came from the WORDS Jesus spoke. His words had legs. His words became so powerful in fact, that when Jesus offered to go to the centurion’s house to heal his servant he said, just say the word, and my servant will be healed. He had come to trust in Jesus’ words and commands - he knew they were powerful - that they had legs.