Christ is Language – Part 3

by | Jun 1, 2022

The New Testament claims that Christ is the intersection between God and man, between flesh and spirit, between the infinite and the finite, between the creator and what has been created. John is emphatic about this. He says that when we reach out and touch Christ, we are touching God. John does not say that Christ merely speaks the words of life. John says that Christ *is* the word of life: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life.”

The reason that a man can know himself is because from the beginning, Christ begins to tell him who he is. The reason that a man can understand the language of another man is because they both are having the same conversation with Christ. The reason that a man may understand the world around him is that the world is being spoken into existence by the same voice that is speaking a man’s soul into existence. The reason that a man may understand the mind of God is because the Son of God tells him what he is thinking. And the reason that a man can understand and know the truth of apostolic preaching is because he has heard what they are saying somewhere before.

Christ makes the very same argument to the religious establishment of the day: “For had you believed Moses, you would have believed me: for he wrote of me.” Christ said that the reason that the religious establishment rejected the gospel of Christ was because they had already rejected the dialogue of God within the soul: “And you have not his word abiding in you: for whom he has sent, him you believe not.” John says that the reason that a man surrenders himself to the gospel conversation of Christ is because he has already surrendered himself to the conversation of Christ in which the soul has been bathed since the moment of its conception.

Jesus characterized his ministry as an act of speech: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor… For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God… For I have given to them the words which you gave me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from you, and they have believed that you sent me.”

Modern language theories say that God’s words cannot, ultimately, be put into temporary human languages. Jesus says: ‘Yes they can. And furthermore, that’s just what I have done.’ Jesus says that his words are the intersection of God and humanity. They are the incarnation of spirit and flesh: “It is the spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” And he told his disciples that their words would also be the incarnation of spirit and flesh: “For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaks in you.” And that spirit was the Spirit of truth itself: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come…”

As Christ claimed that he was sent to speak the words of his Father, so he sent the disciples to speak his words to the world: “He that hears you hears me; and he that despises you despises me; and he that despises me despises him that sent me.” Therefore, after Christ’s ascension, the Apostles believed that their ministry was also an act of speech: “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Paul reiterates this: “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel…”

The New Testament materials say that the created order is a standing speech of Christ. They say that Christ created the senses and the mind in order to hear that speech. They say that the content of that speech is beautiful. They say that Jesus had come to the ordinary world from a world beyond the ordinary senses in order to tell us extraordinary things in ordinary language – yet much of what he had to say was so straightforward, a child could understand it. Children do not understand mystical sacraments, systematic theologies, or religious existentialism, but Matthew claims that children did understand who Christ was:

“And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were very displeased, And said to him, Do you hear what they are saying? And Jesus said to them, Yes; haven’t you read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings you have perfected praise?” It is no wonder that Jesus prays: “I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them unto babes.”