The vast compendium of knowledge we have gathered and learned about Jesus Christ we collated from writings or traditions handed over through the cascading generations of the ages. We learn of his works and words, and any other activity he did from accounts of third persons who committed them to writing and handed them over to generations.
If one thinks harder on this fact, one begins to realize that of the things we know about Christ, the most indicative and most self-revealing of the person and nature of Christ are the words he uttered when he was with us, and which words we assumed were faithfully transcribed and handed over from one generation all the way to ours. For after all we are of one mind that these writings are the inspired words of the Almighty
All other knowledge we know about Christ are in the form of narratives authored by third parties who reported on them, using words and language that informed their own milieu.
When we think about it then, his recorded words are not only as directly attributable to him, but would reveal to us what Christ was as deeply as we can go. His words showed us what was inside of him, and not just the outward manifestations of his Person as memorialized in his actions. Actions documented using the language of the ones reporting them.
But His Words are truly what define Jesus Christ for us who share faith in Him. Unvarnished and recorded faithfully as spoken. It is then up to us individually how to interpret them, or flesh them out to be pertinent and relevant in our faith observances.
First then, let us revisit how the Words of Christ were taken within the milieu of his life on earth.
Beyond the magnetism and mystique of his physical presence, the report has been that all those who heard Him speak were quite unanimous in declaring His utterances as coming from “one speaking with authority.”
And more than that, they declared with one voice that He spoke like no other man before him.
For Christ spoke with uncanny simplicity using language that honed in perfectly with the different audiences that gathered about him.
Those who thronged about him and who had great temporal expectations of his coming had searched for his striking characteristic and preferences, those that would elevate him above the crowd. Yet they found none, none striking or fitting their narrative of a temporal king who would deliver them from their dire lot.
And those of us who had expected only grand and high-sounding words from Him would also be greatly disappointed.
So to the simple folks who included his closest disciples he spoke in words that they easily understood or identified as if coming from their lips, and fleshed out with the same details in their own lives. So the ignorant passersby and those in the marketplaces, they understood His words completely without hesitation and confusion
But to the learned in the temple he spoke words that expressed grandeur and wisdom enough to baffle them of their eloquence and almost poetic sublimity.
And to the many of those in authority who stood to render judgment on his fate, his utterances were very crisp, concise, adroit, and to the point. Like a seasoned lawyer adeptly wading through the deep morass of dated legalism and warped logic.
All this producing the same chorus permeating through all sectors of that society. That the uneducated carpenter Jesus not only spoke as one having authority, but spoke with words like no man had ever spoken.
This then is the perpetual legacy of the Words of Christ, to be studied, learned, and applied to the details of our own individual lives. In complete imitation of Him.