Words Have Meaning

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“‘He is not here, but has risen. Remember how He told you, while He was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.’ And they remembered His words.” -Luke 24:6-8


The men did not; the women did!

Two men dressed in “dazzling apparel” asked these women who came early Sunday morning to Jesus’ tomb with spices for His body this surprising question: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

The question must have caused their mouths to drop open. Then the two angels reminded them of what Jesus had already clearly spoken to them before He went to the cross. Jesus had said, “…three days after [wicked men kill me], I will rise!”

They had so utterly forgotten Jesus’ promise that they actually did come to the tomb on the third day, but they came with no expectation of greeting their risen Master. They came instead to care for His dead body. They had no idea that all Jesus’ words had meaning. He had not spoken frivolously; He meant what He said!

Then the women remembered; the reminder of Jesus’ actual words struck their memory-chord, and their excitement rose immediately. “Yes! This is exactly what He told us! He said after three days He would rise! How could we forget?”

In contrast, the men, including the eleven apostles, remained in brain-lock, disbelief, and fear. Even the women’s genuine excitement before them would not persuade. They really should have known better, but instead they responded, “What are you women talking about? Do not bother us with idle words!”

Peter’s instinct, nonetheless, was pricked. He ran all the way to the now-empty tomb to prove whether their words were true or not. I rather imagine returning from the tomb is exactly when Peter encountered His living Lord, for Paul tells us “Jesus appeared to Peter” first and to the remaining apostles later the same day.

The women’s report to the men were no idle words. Jesus’ words had meaning; they conveyed truth, they conveyed what actually happened, and the men should have believed! Nevertheless, their eyes were soon after opened by a resurrected Jesus, appearing to them in a closed-door-room setting. Yes, indeed, Jesus had told them in advance. Their former unbelief and failure to contemplate had turned His words from truly spoken to misunderstood and ignored – in one ear and out the other.

There actually is, though, such a thing as “idle words.” In Matthew 12:36, Jesus said, “I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless [idle] word they speak.” James talks bluntly about the power and poison of the tongue to hurt, start fires, curse, and destroy.

Today is a day fraught with idle words, spewing out like a fire hose. It seems most words spoken today are purely idle – curses, frivolous, unimportant, unprofitable. We need to avoid such when we use our tongues. Seek to always speak with meaning, to profit your hearer. This is a discipline well worth cultivating.

Jesus’ words were never idle. Those who discount the fact that He is always the visible and verbal expression of God the Father do so to their own folly. When Jesus speaks, wise men listen. Too many words spoken by Him before His cross were lost on the disciples. Are they lost on you?

After the resurrection, His words were remembered, never to be forgotten again by them. The resurrection was a punctuation mark to all the words which Jesus spoke. His rising brought weight to everything He had expressed before His death on the cross.

Words have meaning! Idle words ought to be discarded and forgotten. But words from the mouth of Jesus, indeed, from the Triune God, ought to be treasured, memorized, and acted upon. His words are never misspoken or merely idle.

In Matthew 5:18, Jesus said, “Until heaven and earth pass away not one jot or tittle will pass from the law until all is fulfilled.” Every bit of the Word of God is profitable for your salvation. No book of the Bible nor any passage in it consists of idle words. It is all of great value to benefit your heart, soul, and mind, even though you think them unimportant. None of His Word should be ignored or under-appreciated.

This is good reason for you to read completely through your Bible repeatedly. Leviticus is just as important as the book of John; they are both a necessary part of God’s Word. The Bible contains what is true and essential. It is a living book, impacting every reader, either by sanctifying them or sealing their judgment. Those who discard or ignore it reap the whirlwind! Words have meaning – yours, and especially His!


“No more we doubt Thee, glorious Prince of life. Life is naught without Thee; aid us in our strife. Make us more than conquerors, through Thy deathless love. Bring us safe through Jordan to Thy home above. Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son; endless is the victory Thou o’er death hast won.”

(Third verse of Edmond Budry’s hymn, “Thine Be the Glory,” 1884)

 

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Stephen Leonard

Paul Anderson Youth Home