â€œSpeaking words of wisdom, let it beâ€
Acts 1:6-14, 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11, John 17:1-11
A rather shy man with hidden insecurities and self- loathing was talking to a lady that had become a friend through day to day encounters and though he canâ€™t quite remember what they were talking about that night, he remembers to this day ten words from that conversation that he had never heard before or even contemplated, â€œYou can be anything in your life that you want.â€
Ten words he had never heard that had impact, but more so was the impact that she seemed to mean it.
Cathy, my wife of 21 years said that remark to me when we first started getting to know each other 24 years ago and though I didnâ€™t hang onto those words as if they were the â€œgospel of Cathyâ€, and though it didnâ€™t change my life and what or how I was doing things, and even though I donâ€™t think I actually believed her it didnâ€™t matter, it was more so the shock and astonishment that anyone could believe that of me.
The book of Kings tells us that â€œGod gave Solomon very great wisdom, discernment, and breadth of understanding as vast as the sand on the seashoreâ€Â we hear of that wisdom as he states in Proverbs 12:18 that â€œThe words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.â€
King Solomonâ€™s wisdom was shown through his ruling of Israel and through his words round about 950 years before Christ and now some near on 3,000 years later those who study such things have come to the following assessments:
â€œNegative words can have long-lasting results that spread far beyond the person to whom they were hurled. Those kind of painful hurts replay themselves for decades to come.â€
Children, who are brought up in an atmosphere where harsh criticism, taunts, and mocking are their daily fare, can and will easily internalize the sentiments behind the words. They learn that they arenâ€™t worth very much, and that if those around them think that of them, who are they to refuse the judgment?
Then when they see how their friends do not act like they feel it just emphasizes all the more that there must be something wrong with them and cements it in their mind that the things his parents or other adults say to him must be true. In his childish heart, he firmly believes the message these authority figures have said: that they are worthless and if thatâ€™s all a child knows, it is long lasting and far reaching as then, often they will do to others as theyâ€™ve had done to them, and that can have devastating effects on people who never knew the victim as a child, but who may meet him in a dark alley as an adult!â€
Who knows how we have become to what we are? Some say itâ€™s through those experiences learnt, some say simply through our born in genes and some a mixture of both. In reality we are what we are and at opposite ends of the spectrum some have grown that now as adults not even the harshest criticism seems to faze them just as for some, not even the kindest compliment uplift them.
Worldly words from outside can shape our inside to where we like Pontius Pilate may ask of ourselves like he asked of Christ, of â€œwhat is truth?â€
King Solomonâ€™s remark that â€œA word spoken in due season, how good it isâ€ could be directed to any of us here today who still carry chains from the past, be from a sharp tongue or through the willy ways of the devil in his desire that we abandon the truth of Christ amongst the haze of our sin, the climate of hurt and the teachings of not the Gospel, but of the law through salvation by goodness and works.
â€œA word spoken in due season, how good it isâ€, has been heard by us today in the Words we have heard from Jesus himself and no matter what you think of yourself, these are no throw away words and unlike some that may or may not, His Words today are as life changing as they are hard to comprehend.
Pilate asked Jesus â€what is truth?â€ and though Jesus did not reply, in that in him then going out to the Jews again and telling them, “I don’t find this man guilty of anythingâ€, we can see in him a vague coming to understand of who Jesus was.
If Pilate asked the same of us, we could with authority answer, that Jesus is The Son of Son who on the cross has taken our Sins on himself, that we are given forgiveness and eternal life not of our own going, but of a free gift from God.
Not vague words, but Words we can stake our lives on. Yet though we know them so clearly: from within ourselves, our sins, our hurts and the tricks of he who looks to deceive, like the disciples hearing todayâ€™s words from the Gospel just prior to Jesus arrest, we too can miss the full ramification of them on our lives.
So for a moment, letâ€™s cast aside all pre-understandings from where ever we have got them and simply hear and understand Godâ€™s Word for ourselves given to us from Christ himself in todayâ€™s Gospel and the inspired Word of God in the Old and New Testament readings.
That as we did not attach ourselves to Jesus of our own will because we liked Him or of our virtues or lack thereof, but because of His love for us, Jesus about to be glorified on the cross now shifts His emphasis to the Father about the welfare of those that are His and prays to the Father that we may not feel abandoned, but know that God protects us by the power of his name. That the Holy Spirit counsels us as to the truth of Christ and how we can interact with Godâ€™s kind of love toward people around us.
That we cast our anxieties on Christ and though weak, in Him we are strong, firm and steadfast. Authorised to live with confidence and empowered by God to live differently.
All these words are truth and I hope they are uplifting to many. Unfortunately if I stopped there for me I would still be like that child seeing all his friends happy, but not knowing it for himself may see some of this as further proof and confirmation of just self-loathing and being on the outer.
That is until for me and maybe even for you, we are given the game changer which is this:
The gift God gives, by his grace is eternal life and while eternal life continues in heaven, we do not have to die before receiving it, because for those who trust and believe in Christ it is a present reality here today, and here today exactly as we are.
Solomon, given great wisdom from God said â€œA word spoken in due season, how good it isâ€.
Christ here today asks that we hear and trust not in our earthly wisdom of whatâ€™s seen and felt. But trust in His wisdom that tells us that no matter what the past or what to come, that be our lives be cloaked in the cold of winter or the sunshine of summer, that we not wait for in hesitation or anxiousness of heart, but accept His gift of eternal life today and live now as we know we will in the new heaven and earth and see the Glory of Christ with and before us in all situations and know that in Him we have received the fullness of a life freed from what we once were, to a life of freedom to let us be, what He wills us to be. Â Amen.