The Word and the Works

 Matthew 7: 28-29 (The Message)

When Jesus concluded his address, the crowd burst into applause. They had never heard teaching like this. It was apparent that he was living everything he was saying—quite a contrast to their religion teachers! This was the best teaching they had ever heard. 

            We find these two verses at the end of Matthew chapter 7----- the end of a remarkable collection of the teachings of Jesus, teachings that could realistically occupy our attention for the rest or our lives. I love the way The Message states it. It was clear to the people that there was a difference between teaching something you know and something you know about.  Frankly I don't think it is different today. I think people by and large can figure out the difference between someone who is teaching about something they have "learned" about through study and people who have actually lived it. How many of us would like to go up in an airplane with someone who has studied about flying and knows everything there is to know about it, but has never actually flown an airplane! No, thank you.

            We'll Jesus was different and he punctuated this difference in the next several chapters of Matthew. Jesus transitions immediately from teaching about the kingdom of God to demonstrations of the kingdom of God. After driving out demons or healing the sick, it was not uncommon for Jesus to state 'The Kingdom of God is in your midst."   Jesus wasn't just about the words.   He backed up His words with his works. He not only talked about compassion, he demonstrated it. When his cousin John the Baptist was executed, Jesus wanted to withdraw to a deserted place, but the crowd quickly found him.   Instead of complaining about not having time for himself, the scriptures say,  "He saw the people and moved with compassion and he healed the sick and did miracles amongst them."

            I'm afraid we can be accustomed to the Word without the works. We love to listen to the Word being taught.   We love to talk about the Word.  We love to study the Word, all of which is a good thing, but it's not enough. It would be like going into a restaurant and studying the menu and then saying, " I'm not going to get anything to eat, I just like to study the menu! "

            Jesus was about the Word and the works, demonstrating God's compassion for and desire to intervene in people's lives. His disciples followed his example and became "word workers” themselves.

            The question for you and me is this:  are we going to be people who just know all about Jesus and the things he did, or are we going to follow his example? Let's hear people say, "Gosh it's apparent they are living what they are saying!"