John 12:17-19: Word of mouth.
17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” NIV
A song says ”It’s only words…”
But words are important. They are powerful. The Bible has so much to say about words.
It says, for example, that ”The tongue has the power of life and death…” (Proverbs 18:21a).
It says, for example, that ”…men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.” (Matthew 12:36).
It says for example that ”Not many…should presume to be teachers…” Because those who teach will be ”judged more strictly” (James 3:1).
It says so much about words.
And words are important in our testimony about Christ. There has to be a vital combination of both life and lip. So here are two thoughts from today’s reading:
- Persevere in witness to Jesus (17): ”continued” – there was consistency in their speaking. They did not give up, even though hostility buzzed around their heads like mosquitoes. There were people who were not happy about what they were doing (19), but they would not be silenced.
- Persevere in verbal witness to Jesus (17, 18): ”continued to spread the word”… Listen to the impact: ”because they had heard…went out to meet him.” (See also John 4:30/39-42).
You never know what impact you may have. The Pharisees may have been exaggerating in their frustrated exclamation (19), but see behind it the ”Many people” (18) who were being impacted. These outstanding results came from persevering verbal witness to Jesus. As our church’s youth pastor reminded me in a recent conversation, the seed is the Word. ”Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.” (Mark 4:27). There is life in the seed; there is power in the seed. So let’s keep sowing.