I rarely seem to be able to speak succinctly what is on my mind. When I’m under pressure it gets worse! My daughter, a TV news producer, crafts sound bites facing a drop-dead deadline. When the cameras are on she quickly talks her anchors and reporters, through technical glitches and wholesale changes for breaking news.
Jesus knew exactly what to say in every situation, whether pressured or not. I do find it encouraging that even Jesus, had a hard time answering the main question of the Jews, “Who are you?” Jesus’ problem was not His ability to speak, but His audience’s ability to listen. No matter how many times he repeated “I am the light of the world” or “If you knew me you would know my Father”, they couldn’t recognize that the Messiah, the Only Son of God was standing in front of them in the person of Jesus. Their training from youth and the stories they had learned after decades living in exile was summarized in one core belief; YHWH is the only true God for Israel. It was impossible for them as a nation to hear anything else.
Accused of blasphemy by a crowd holding rocks, Jesus pointed to His deeds. (John 8) The Jews admitted His works were good, But a few dared to claim that Satan, not God, had not helped Him do those works.
When people face us with stones, words won’t matter. That’s when our deeds should speak. This challenge for integrity, getting our words and our works to line up is the challenge of living a “whole” Christian life. Our words and our deeds must derive from the same source, from where everything that is good and holy begins.
For us who have trouble getting the right words out, we still have the chance for God to be glorified by our deeds. Well, James and Solomon agree that keeping our words few is not a bad practice. And what did Jesus teach us about deeds? We love God by obeying His command to love our brothers and sisters in the faith and also our neighbors, whether they believe yet or not.
Brothers and sisters, let us love one another.