I was thinking about it the other day and realized, Jesus didn’t really say a lot in His recorded life and ministry. I wondered, how much did Jesus actually say? The Bible consists of over 800,000 words, how many of them came directly from the tongue of the Master? ***
We can watch and listen to Jesus throughout His public teachings, His private instructions, His healing discourses, and His intimate communication with individuals. And in those numerous conversations, whether it was with a centurion, a priest, or His disciples, the dialogue always carried the weight of relevance and application far beyond the original participants in the exchange. And it wasn’t just the statements Jesus made either; He entered conversations and asked questions… in fact several times the questions were brought as an answer to a question!
In His ministry as a vagabond preacher, Jesus told various parables that we’re still interpreting and walking out to this day, (cultural differences aside). Sure there was the Sermon on the Mount, the Last Supper’s celebration of Passover, and several other moments where His teaching was lengthy; but it was never about the quantity of His words but the quality of His words. And while we might have a relatively small number of teachings/words from Jesus, what He did was much more important than what He said! Clearly it’s not the count but the content that matters.
I think about the presidential candidates we’ve been listening to on a daily basis for the last many months. They’ve been making speeches and campaign promises with grandiose statements about foreign policy or domestic strategies and programs to solve the problems we face as a nation. Some of the recent campaign stops in this primary election have had candidates pontificating more than Jesus did in his entire ministry.
The fact is, everyone wants (and likes) to be heard, and there's nothing wrong with wanting people to know your opinions, or your position on a certain issue. (Especially when your opinion has been requested.) However, expressing ourselves can become awkward when it’s excessive, when it silences others, or when the one doing the talking lacks the knowledge to actually speak into the given subject being discussed, often relying on the ability to incessantly babble while trying to figure out how to get away from the spotlight they prematurely took on… it gets embarrassing.
The Bible speaks to all of this in Proverbs. “Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.” (10:19). Or James put it this way, “Be quick to listen and slow to speak.“ (1:19)
In this political season as we hear the surplus of possible solutions to what pains Americans, let’s be sure to look to the One who brings freedom and healing to all of mankind.
#1) According to SwordSearcher (Bible Software) Jesus spoke approximately 2026 words in the New Testament. (that’s not a lot… considering!)
#2) If you believe that Jesus is God, and the Bible is the inspired word of God, then every word in the Bible is one of Jesus' words.
#3) Ultimately, He spoke just enough words for you and I to know His character, and believe in Him!