This past Easter, as I was reading the Gospels again and pouring over the Passion narratives, I happened to notice a few words that struck me as simple, yet mysterious and profound. I have heard sermons on the last words of Christ, but this is not that.
What I have in mind is a very brief look at some of the shortest sayings about and from Jesus that we have on record that I think are foundational to our faith.
The seven most profound words in the Bible, according to Dan!
“Jesus wept” (2) John 11:35
Thanks to John, growing up I could always get at least one sticker in Sunday school for Bible memorizing. Of course John had nothing to do with the sentence structure, but I still give him credit!
But those 2 words (Jesus wept) reveals his humanity. We have a Savior who has fully entered into our humanity and can understand and emphasize with our emotions and the pain of this world. His heart ached, and even though he already knew the outcome of his friend Lazarus, he still grieved.
Not only can we find great comfort and hope in knowing that Jesus can, and still does,relate to us, but it also reveals his identity as the Son of Man. He was born like us, lived like us, got hungry and tired like us, cried like us, and died like us…he was one of us. And we needed one of our own to take our punishment for us and stand in the gap.
As a man, Jesus shows us what real humanity looks like. Authentic, sincere, and intimate relationship with God. Out of his humanity, Jesus performed miracles and taught with power and authority, and so can we. As a human, Jesus humbled himself before God and allowed the very presence of His heavenly father to dwell in him and flow out of him, and so should we. Because Jesus wept, we have an example of the kind of life God has created us for for here or earth, humanity at its best, as it was intended to be.
But we needed Jesus to be more than just a good moral teacher and example.
“I AM” (2) *John 8:58; John 9:5; 10:7-36
While there are many “I am” sayings of Jesus, the John 8:58 reference indicts the central meaning. At these words of Jesus, the Pharisees tore their clothes in anger and protest. Why? Because clearly Jesus was affirming his divinity. The very words of identity spoken by God to Abraham, Moses, and Jacob are the very words Jesus uses to describe and define himself. Jesus and God are one.
Christ’s divinity is what makes him Lord and Savior over all creation. We can and should worship Jesus the Messiah, because he is not just God’s servant, he was and is God himself. Truly a mystery we cannot fully grasp, but true nonetheless.
Because Jesus is the great “I am”, we have power, authority, victory, freedom, forgiveness, and salvation in his name.
Two very powerful words.
“He has risen” (3) Matthew 28:6; Luke 26:6
The words first spoken by the angels that Easter dawn changed history. Those 3 words proved Jesus to be who he said he was and brought God’s ultimate plan into fulfillment. Those 3 words defeated evil and conquered death. Those 3 words give us hope for our eternal security and future life with God. Taking words from that familiar hymn by the Gaithers':
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives.
So there you have it…
In my opinion, seven of the shortest and yet most powerful words in the Bible.
Happy Easter everyone!