John 7:45-53 45 Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?” 46 “No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards declared. 47 “You mean he has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted. 48 “Has any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? 49 No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law–there is a curse on them.” 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, 51 “Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?” 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.” 53 Then each went to his own home.
Take a look at this video clip.
(Show the EF Hutton Commercial.)
Do you remember those commercials and that tag line? “When EF Hutton talks, people listen.” I grew up hearing about EF Hutton, and I had no clue who he was or why anyone should listen to him. I took a minute to google his name. I learned that he founded a stock brokerage firm in 1904 and apparently his firm became one of the most respected financial firms in the US. He knew his stuff. People wanted to know what EF Hutton had to say about money and investments. His words evidently carried weight and had a great impact.
Luke 4:22 says of Jesus, “All spoke well of Him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from His lips.” Luke 19:48 goes on to say, “The people hung on His words.”
John’s Gospel in chapter seven tells us, “No one ever spoke the way this man did.” Jesus’ words had an unusual IMPACT on the temple guards. They didn’t bring Jesus in as they had been commanded to do. His words had caught the guards off-guard. They had been sent to arrest Jesus, but His words had arrested them. They couldn’t do it. What was it about Jesus’ words that caused them to defy the orders they had been given?
Words are definitely weapons. People can be won over with words. Wars can be ceased with words. People’s lives can be ruined due to strategically used phrases and with the sword of the tongue. People spend time and money to learn how to become better communicators, speech writers, and conversationalists. Some people just have a way with words. They know how to lighten the tension in a room. Others know how to phrase something to alleviate someone’s pain. Still others use words to masterfully manipulate someone in order to get their own way.
Jesus was a Master Communicator. In fact, He was called “The Word.” He was the communicator from heaven sent to earth to teach and explain what God’s love is about, what a relationship with God looks like, and how we can make our way to heaven. It was obvious early on that Jesus was a good talker. He was a weighty talker. When He talked, people listened. Luke 2 tells us He was just 12 years old when his parents took Him to Jerusalem for the Passover. When the festivities were finished they headed home. Back then they traveled in large caravans with other family members, and they assumed Jesus was in the entourage. They traveled an entire day before they realized He wasn’t with them. They then had to travel an entire day back to Jerusalem. Scripture tells us it took them an additional day to find Him. What was He doing? Talking! He was engaging the religious leaders at the age of twelve with questions and dialogue about the Scriptures and matters of the law. Now I know some 12 year olds who are good talkers. I live with one. But the topic of discussion isn’t usually the weighty matters of Scripture and the Moral Law. But those were the kinds of things Jesus wanted to talk about.
Look at the reaction of those who heard what He had to say, and what He had to say to His parents once they found Him: Luke 2:47-49 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” 49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I HAD to be in my Father’s house?”
Jesus HAD to have certain conversations. In order to do the will of God, He had to engage people in dialogue. His entire ministry would be focused on speaking truth, teaching truth, telling people how to live, explaining why He came, preparing people for what was ahead, challenging the status quo, training people how to live as His disciples, and pointing the way to Heaven. And when Jesus talked, people listened even when He was just 12 years old.
Why did they listen? How was the way He spoke so different from the way others communicated?
His words revealed His authority over religious leaders. The Gospels are riddled with phrases like: “Crowds were amazed because Jesus taught with or spoke with authority.” In several places the phrase went on to say, “He taught as one who had authority and not as their teachers of the law.” Ouch. The teachers of the law were supposed to be the ones to follow, but people had tuned them out by this point. It was religious blah, blah, blah and condemnation and guilt and shame and “look at me.” People had grown so weary of religious leaders who tried to exercise religious authority without the heart and action to back up their zealous words. Jesus, however, had a different way about His religious messages. He was so accessible, so humble, yet so confident, so learned, and so commanding. He was one of those preachers you could sit and listen to for hours, something no one has ever said about me! When He explained the Scriptures they made sense.
Jesus spoke with a personal authority because He had been commissioned by God. He had been sent from Heaven. He had been filled with the Holy Spirit. He had been anointed to be God’s spokesman. He spoke like no other because He wasn’t just an ordinary person. He wasn’t like the prophets. He wasn’t like good moral teachers who have come and gone. He was and is the eternal Son of God who entered our world as a human being so that He could tell us what we needed to know. He was fully God and fully man. John 12:49 says, “For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.” When He spoke, He spoke not as a wise or learned man, but He spoke with the full authority of God. Hallelujah!
It was not only obvious that Jesus possessed an authority beyond that of the religious leaders, but He also spoke with authority over demonic spirits.
Mark 1:22-27 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” 25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. 27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching–and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.”
If there is one thing I know for sure, it is that I want to follow the One who can whoop the devil! In this passage in Mark chapter one, the demon cries out, “Have you come to destroy us?” That would be a yes! One reason Jesus came was to destroy the works of the devil, I John 3:8. Those who were bound by Satan could be free because Jesus had the authority to command it be so, and “He whom the Son sets free is free indeed!” John 8:36
The religious leaders may have been perplexed and confused about the real authority and identity of Jesus, but believe me the powers of darkness were crystal clear about Jesus and His authority. The demon in this Mark passage confessed, “I know who you are—The Holy One of God!” No wonder the people present made exclamations about Jesus’ authority. They heard demonic forces submit to Him and exclaim Him to be the Messiah.
It is clear that the demon was afraid of Jesus. He knew he was a goner in the presence of Jesus. To the onlookers, Jesus was no longer just a different kind of teacher who seemed to know what He was talking about and who had a knack for communicating an inspiring message that went beyond the earthly religious leaders of the day, but He now was a man whose words exerted authority over the supernatural powers of darkness! He could shut Satan and his demons down! Praise the Lord! What authority our Savior has! Nothing can harass me, oppress me, or bind me that Jesus can’t deal with, so I’m sticking with Him! How about you? When Jesus spoke, the demons listened . . . and trembled.
Jesus words also proved He had authority over the nature and earthly elements.
Matthew 8:23-27 23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
No other religious leader was doing these kinds of things. No other Rabbi had spoken to command winds and waves. Jesus also showed His authority over nature and earthly elements in several settings.
-Jesus changed water to wine in John 2.
-Jesus walked on the water in John chapter six.
-Jesus multiplied five loaves and two fish to feed over 5000 people, also in John chapter
-Jesus cursed a fig tree, and it withered in Matthew 21.
In Matthew 17 He placed coins in the mouth of a fish that His disciples’ caught. In fact,
He told His disciples to go fishing and open the mouth of the first fish they would catch and use the money in the fish’s mouth to pay taxes. I think I could even be talked into baiting a hook given that promise, right? This God-man, Jesus, was amazing. If He said it, it would be so whether to demonic strongholds or winds and waves or bass and walleye. When Jesus spoke, even nature and earthly creatures listened.
Jesus’ words had authority. Tremendous authority. He spoke and forgave people their sin. In Mark 2 when Jesus healed a paralytic and was questioned by the religious authorities about how His healing included the forgiveness of the paralytic’s sins, Jesus replied, “Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” Forgiveness of sin was so central to Jesus earthly message that He gave some of His last earthly breath to tell the thief on the cross he was forgiven of his sin and would join Jesus in Paradise.
There was a tenderness, a gentleness about His words of forgiveness. He never used His authority to shame or condemn those who were sorry for their sin. Though He had the authority to be harsh and heavy handed that wasn’t His approach. He spoke with reassurance that they were free and could live free from that moment forward. I love the beautiful and moving story about the woman caught in adultery and Jesus’ clever, compassionate and calculated words of forgiveness.
John 8:3-11 (NIV) 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Jesus had authority to forgive her, which He did, but in tenderness He also used His words and authority to talk to her about her future. If anyone should have a say about how we live it is Jesus. When Jesus talked to people about their sin, like this woman or the woman at the well, it was to help them move away from sinful patterns into a life of freedom, joy and peace. A phrase our worship pastor Mandy has shared with us is that while Jesus wants us to be sorry for our sins, He doesn’t want us to live the rest of our lives sorry. That is the authority Jesus has! He can free us from our shame and our self-condemnation. We don’t have to live sorry, but we can live differently and walk in freedom.
Jesus not only spoke with Heavenly authority, He not only leveled demons with His commands, He not only told seas and salmon what to do, He not only forgave people their sins, but He also spoke with authority over disease and death. (Tell your neighbor, this is getting good!)
Remember, Jesus walked the earth before antibiotics and vaccinations. Sickness was everywhere. Here is a list of the diseases Jesus cured that we know of:
Multiple lepers were healed
Someone with a condition known as dropsy was healed
A man with a withered hand had it restored
Multiple blind were given sight
Lame feet were made to walk
A woman who had a bleeding problem for 12 years was healed
A man whose ear had it cut off was put back on and restored
A deaf man who couldn’t speak was healed
Seizure disorders were cured
A woman who had been bent over for years was enabled to stand tall
Countless people were delivered from demons
There were mass healings and individual healings
Sometimes everyone in town that was sick got healed. Other times it was only a few.
Depending on how you classify the event, there are 30-40 individual healings of Jesus recorded in the Gospels. Psalm 107:20 says, “He sent for His Word and healed them.” Jesus, the Word, the Logos, the Living Word, had and has authority to heal our diseases. When Jesus talks, diseases listen!
This next reality is the reality that enables us to hold it together when we are grieving the loss of a loved one. We can encourage ourselves in this truth: Those who die in the Lord live eternally and are finally free from every hurt, habit, hang-up, and hopeless situation we have to endure in this lifetime because Jesus has proven through His words that He has authority over death!
Jesus raised three people from the dead before He ever got to be raised Himself. They were Lazarus, the daughter of Jairus and the son of the widow at Nain. When Jesus talks, death listens! 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Oh, yes, there was something different about what Jesus said and the way He said it alright. Remember those two downcast, depressed, dejected disciples who were traveling on the Road to Emmaus after Jesus’ death? They were in shock. Jesus was gone. Who or what would they follow now? They didn’t know how they would go on. And what happened next? Jesus, though unknown to them at first, the Resurrected Jesus, joined their conversation. He is good about butting in like that, isn’t He? And once they realized who He was they recalled that as He spoke with them something happened to them that they couldn’t explain at the time. Luke 24:32 tells us that as Jesus spoke their hearts burned within them.
Multiple eyewitnesses, far more than a few, crowds of people heard and saw the weight Jesus’ words carried. If you had a demon exercised out of you, if your boat had been stilled during a terrible storm, if you had a dreaded disease cured, if you had been given breath and had your heart resuscitated by a word from Jesus, if your sin had been forgiven by His words of pardon, if you thought all hope was lost, but a word from Jesus pointed you to the reality of the resurrection, of course you wanted more and more of what Jesus had to say. If you were religious, however, if your way of life was threatened by a new approach, if you wanted authority but nobody listened to you, of course you wanted to discount Jesus’ words, twist His words, and try to use them against Him. Jesus made religious people mad. He still does that today. Talking to religious people in John 8:43 Jesus said, “Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.”
Unable to hear what Jesus says? After raising the dead, healing the lepers, stilling the seas, and driving out demons some people were still unable to hear? Jesus explained those who were unable to hear were those who didn’t belong to Him, those who hadn’t put their trust in Him. Are you able to hear Him this morning? Is your heart burning within you? Do you want to hear Him?
Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away” (Mark 13:31). He said, “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on a rock” (Matthew 7:24). He said, “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will ask whatever you will and it will be done for you” (John 15:7).
Oh, the impact of the words of Jesus! I believe He is here right now. I believe He desires to exercise His authority to still some storms, some internal turmoil. I believe He wants to set some people free from lives of sin and shame and speak to you about what your future could look like. I believe there are some demons who are already trembling in anticipation of what will happen as Jesus exercises His authority in our midst. Will you let Jesus impact your life this morning by speaking His Word over you?