The time was growing short. Jesus was soon to be arrested and crucified. There was much unrest among the people–the chief priests and scribes, the principle men of the people sought to destroy Him. But there was a problem. If they made a move against the Messiah, they would anger the people who had been visibly impacted by His ministry. Luke says it best: “they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words” (Luke 19:48).
The term hanging on His words tells us that the people were not only following Him or hearing Him speak. They were literally spellbound by Jesus’ teachings. They paid close attention to what He had to say. They hung onto every word He spoke, seriously considering every parable, every sermon, every miracle. Truth drew the people in, stirred in their hearts, and instilled in them a hunger that not only impacted the individual hearer, but the entire region’s social and political climate.
When was the last time we read the Word of God and were literally spellbound by the Truth? Do we intently search for life-giving Truth when we read or hear the Word proclaimed, or do we fidget and try to stay focused while random thoughts attack our minds? Do we read seeking understanding that is applicable and able to transform our lives, or do we rush through our daily (or perhaps not-so-daily) quiet time because we have to get to work, make breakfast, pack lunches, attend a meeting or keep an appointment?
Unless we are truly hanging on His words, we are participating in a powerless endeavor. The people who followed Jesus seeking more Truth were participating in a powerful act of unity which held at bay those who sought to destroy the Messiah.
The principle men of the day sought to delegitimize Jesus, destroying His testimony of Truth with their attempts to expose some error in His teaching–we see this over and over again in the Gospels. But we know they had no intention of stopping there; they sought to literally destroy His ministry. Unrestrained jealousy drove their intentions to do whatever they could to keep the people from following Jesus and hanging on His words, not unlike the random thoughts that attack our mind when we set our heart and mind to learn from Scripture what the Lord is speaking to us.
The principle men were restrained because the people were in unity, they were spellbound by the words of Jesus, and had witnessed miracle after miracle as He taught them about faith, righteousness, and holy living.
There are principalities and powers assigned to distract and undermine the Word of God in our lives. Our weapon against such warfare is to be like the people and hang on His words. The Word of God is our source of power which paralyzes the enemy’s assault against our minds. Let God’s Word penetrate your heart for it is the bridge to abundant life. Hang on every word as if your life depended upon it because, in all reality, it does.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
© Jan Ross
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