Words. Words are some of the most powerful things in the universe. Human beings use them every day to do both good and evil. Many of us: educators, ministers, business leaders, politicians and certainly parents even make speeches with them. Even as a person who gives many sermons and instruction in words, I am no fool to think that any one speech I give changes the course of history. Yet there are such times when even a very brief compilation of words profoundly impacts the destiny of the world.
In our own culture one can think of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address or Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech or Ronald Reagan’s “Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall” in front of Brandenburg Gate towards the end of the Cold War. My mind also goes to King George VI of England in 1939 and the speech he gave to rally a nation in the defense of their island and civilization against the Nazi aggressor. Many of us are aware of this speech due to the 2010 Academy award-winning film “The Kings Speech.” This powerful film brought that impactful speech, from a stuttering and unassuming King, to the masses of a new generation.
Yet there is another, still greater king, who gave a still greater speech long ago. A humble Jewish teacher took his place on a hillside and took his followers and many a listening ear to school. This speech, the words of the King of Kings, was written down and transferred to millions in the inspired Word of God in the Scriptures. This speech has changed the world perhaps more than any words in all of history. And by that I do not mean to exaggerate. The teaching of Jesus Christ unleashed a revolution in the world and showed us a different path to walk amidst the greedy, violent and self-exalting human race.
This year at Jacobs Well we will study the King’s speech and go to school with Jesus. As God permits, from September until Easter we will walk in the words of the Sermon of the Mount found in the Gospel of Matthew. We will by no means be able to exhaust its riches together, but I do pray that its gold would shine forth for all who are hungry and thirsty for a renewed life and mission together.