Bible Society of South Africa
Danny Fourie

Who is this Man? – Day 14

Orator of understandable language

Bible text(s)

9Would any of you who are fathers give your son a stone when he asks for bread?

Matthew 7:9GNBOpen in Bible reader

Jesus called a child and said, “You have to believe like this child.” “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? … If you, then, who are evil, know how to give the good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” “First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Jesus conversed in this way and his pronouncements became known worldwide.

By using ordinary language, Jesus demonstrated God’s interest in our everyday lives. But, you can bet that many considered this too simplistic and disrespectful. Surely, that is not the way to talk about God. You do not compare God to a farmer.

In the sixteenth century, during Luther’s lifetime, Latin was the only language spoken in church. The ordinary people did not understand anything at all. They sat in the pews and observed the mysterious rituals of the priests and looked at the statues and paintings. How were they to understand that worship had to be respectful, but that it was also about an everyday intimate relationship with God? Luther, therefore, translated the Bible into German and he also preached it in the common German language of his day.

Jesus did likewise. He talked about God in plain language. In this way, people came closer to God. Jesus taught people that faith is not a habit or a ritual. The way He talked and taught was new and astonishing.

The parables Jesus used were characteristic of his teaching methods. Beautiful, visual stories that were understood by the people who believed in Him, but not by those who turned their backs on Him. The parables were sort of mysterious, yet straight-forward. You can retell it just as it is. For example, the prodigal son who, with a pocket full of money and his Porsche, got off into the world.

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