Never man spake like this man
Throughout history there have been many famed orators who stood out for their special abilities to stir their audiences – men like Churchill, and even Adolph Hitler. Through oratory Sir Winston Churchill gave much needed encouragement to the masses of his despondent countrymen. Adolf Hitler, with his hypnotic oratory, built the National Socialist party to the largest in Germany by 1932. There is one, however, whose voice is timeless. The words of a lone figure from the First Century place Him far ahead of them all for His universal relevance.
Early in the Gospel according to Mark we learn of Jesus, the man who astonished the people with His teachings, “…for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:22). “…For with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee” (Mark 1:27, 28).
Here was a man who spoke powerfully with a note of authority never heard before, yet with stirring compassion for these followers. His words were accompanied with powerful evidence so that the disciples pondered: “…what manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:41).
Matthew tells us of His teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom. “And his fame went throughout all Syria” (Matthew 4:24). This occasioned what we fondly call the “Sermon on the Mount.” Here the master orator sat, as a teacher of His time would, with multitudes at His feet. He taught them, not with a hypnotic voice or with catchy peace slogans and campaign slogans, but with a kind and compassionate voice. “When he was come down from the mountains, great multitudes followed him” (Matt. 8:1).
This man spoke to the masses and they followed Him, and He offered them life. It was His mission to shepherd a shepherdless flock, and His speeches reflected this. “And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him. And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:33-34).
Jesus was not only a man of powerful words, but He genuinely loved His followers. Here was one who would ultimately lay down His life for them. This distinguishes Him from other great leader-orators. Masses have died for some of these leaders. By contrast, Jesus died for the masses!
We are so privileged to have the recorded words of the Master to lead us to life today. “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). May we grow closer to our Heavenly Father as we study Jesus’ teachings, for truly, “…never man spake like this man” (John 7:46).
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