Communication is a big deal. How we communicate can lock hearts or open hearts. It can make us look like a jerk or make us look like an empathetic listener. It can show that we care only for our own selfish agenda or it can show that we care about others.
Communicating is done through many ways, isn’t it? Of course, talking is what comes to mind first but just because someone doesn’t talk a lot , does not mean they are not communicating. Folded arms and a big sigh speak very clearly to the person one is “talking” to. Ignoring someone says “I don’t care”. Rolled eyes say “You are weird” or “not this again”.
If our desire, as a Christian, is to be like Jesus, then it should follow that our communication should be like His, as well. But what exactly does that mean? Jesus gives us a wonderful example of communicating in the Bible. While we do not know His body language, we do know that He was perfect. That would lead me to believe there wasn’t a lot of disgusted sighs or rolled eyes or huffy walking away. But what do we know about how Jesus communicated?
1. Jesus was kind.
In Matthew 9 we read of a woman who had been bleeding continuously for twelve years. She had faith that even if she touched the garment of Jesus she would be healed, so she jostled her way up through the crowd to do this. When Jesus turned around to greet her, he said “Be of Good Cheer, your faith has made you well.” He treated her kindly. He didn’t say, “Don’t touch me! Leave me alone!” I don’t know about you, but it is tempting for me to react in anger or sarcasm if someone is invading my personal space (young children are really good at doing this) or infringing upon my time. But Jesus shows us clearly that we are to think of others and not of ourselves.
2. Jesus had compassion for others.
In Mark 1, we find the account of the leper. This poor man has been stricken with leprosy, but he comes to kneel before Jesus, crying “If You are willing, You can make me clean“. The following verse is beautiful. In NKJV it says, “Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, I am willing; be cleansed.” Don’t you love that line “moved with compassion”? Jesus truly cared about that man. Can you understand how unloved and cast out lepers were? They were the scum of the earth in the days of Jesus. To associate with them was to put yourself at risk. And, yet, Jesus had compassion on this man. He didn’t just say “be healed” and walk away. He genuinely cared. Makes me wonder if I genuinely care when someone requests something of me? Do I have compassion when I see someone in a difficult situation? And do I give voice and action to that compassion or do I just feel it for a moment and then get on with my life?
3. Jesus wanted to keep His message the priority.
After He had healed the leper in Mark 2, He asked him to keep it quiet. He asked him to say nothing to anyone. It is recorded that the leper did not obey Jesus (I can’t judge that leper too harshly–I have to admit, I would have struggled with that command, too! Can you imagine how exciting it would be to be healed of a disease like that??) But why did Jesus issue that command, anyway? MacArthur notes state that “The ensuing publicity would hinder Jesus’s ability to minister and divert attention from His message.” Jesus could heal people, but that was not His mission for coming to earth. And I think, as believers, we need to remember this, too. We can do wonderful, temporary things for people. Give them food, help them with shelter, give them eye glasses and dental help. But if we do this without sharing the gospel, what eternal good is it? Let’s keep the gospel a priority, in the midst of our good works.
4. Jesus was not prejudiced.
I know that this sounds basic. But, every now and then, I will still hear of a believer in Jesus Christ make a statement that would be inappropriate regarding a specific group of people. I don’t think Jesus would approve. Jesus was not a respecter of persons. Do we have a specific example of this? As a matter of fact, we do. In John 4, Jesus witnesses to the Samaritan woman. She asks Jesus in verse 9, how he, being a Jew, would request water from a Samaritan woman? You see, not only was she a Samaritan, she was also a woman. She had two counts against her. And, yet, Jesus took time to talk with her. Jesus didn’t care about her sex or her race. But he did care about her. If you are ever tempted to avoid someone because of their race or to make a blanket judgment about a group of people, remember this account in the gospel of John.
5. Jesus was honest.
As we continue on in John 4, we read more of Jesus’s conversation with the woman at the well. Jesus confronts the woman’s sin. Of course, he had a bit of an advantage, as He knew all about her sin, before she ever opened her mouth! But, still, He talked with her about it. And then witnesses to her. As we share the gospel, we can not hesitate to lovingly reveal people’s sin. How else can they be saved? Unless a man or woman realize that they are a sinner, there is no need for repentance or for a savior. But…and maybe I am stretching it a bit…could this possibly be carried over into other areas of life? Should we be more honest with each other? I think most of us spend our life not being truthful with those around us. We figure it is just easier to avoid the conflict. And sometimes that is true. But we need to ask God to show us when it worth being truthful. Because, oftentimes, the avoidance tactic ends up growing into a mountain that takes a miracle to move.
6. Jesus did get angry but only with righteous cause.
In John 2, we read of the temple cleansing. When Jesus saw the marketplace the temple had become, He grew angry and took action. Jesus was not angry because of how they treated Him personally, as a human man, but He was angry at the treatment of God and His Holy Place. And while He took forceful action (driving them all out of the temple), there is no indication that He was cruel in His actions. Perhaps we could follow His example? I can’t help but think, in contrast, of the cross. Not only did Jesus not grow angry in their treatment of Him, as they spit on Him and cast lots for His clothing, but He asked the Father to forgive them. Wow. What an example. I don’t know about you, but I find that my anger usually centers on ME and my unsatisfied desires. Sobering thought, isn’t it? I think the other lesson to be learned here is that we have a right to get angry when someone is teaching false doctrine. We are not supposed to tolerate this! Nowhere in scripture do we read that we are to keep peace at the expense of pure doctrine. We are to drive false teachers out of the church…both on a local level and on a larger scale.
While there are other examples of how Jesus communicates in scripture, that is probably long enough for today. I hope that God’s Word challenges you today. To God be the Glory!