There is an interesting phenomenon that occurs when a person takes a serious look at the Gospels. We see several times where Jesus is “teaching” or “preaching” regarding the Kingdom of God, yet we get very little detail of what the content was. Then there are the parables, which by their very nature are word pictures of the message Jesus intends to convey. Messages designed to be hidden to some and obvious to others.
What I find compelling is what Jesus does not say, more than what he does say. However, when it comes to his actual content we see that the people who were hearing it “were hanging on his words.” (Luke 19:48 ESV)
When Jesus was finishing his earthly ministry, he told his disciples to spread his message – to make disciples of every nation, “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:20) In other words, tell people what I told you. Therefore, as ear-witnesses to his content, their obligation is now to propagate that message.
The message they heard is of course reflected in much of what they write in the narratives of the Gospels. However, it is intriguing that not one of the Gospel writers seem to give us insight into what Jesus was teaching in those “private” moments with them, or even sometimes to the multitudes. That is, unless, we see it reflected in their recounting Christ’s ministry.
Discounting all of that, at least for the moment, the fact that those who heard the Christ hung on his every word is somewhat indicting. I find myself much too often just reading to be reading my Lord’s words. The only “hanging” I do is hanging on to one chapter in order to make it to the next.
Is what Jesus said important? Is what the gospel writers pen for us significantly reflective of our Lord’s teaching to them? (Luke is the exception here.) Then perhaps I should strengthen my grip and learn to do more “hanging on his words.”
Lord, I am not sure why I often tend to pass through your words rather than pause on your every word. If I am to be more like you, than it is imperative that I “learn of you”. Teach me to strengthen my grip on the Gospels.