June 12, 2017
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. – John 6:63
On November 19, 1863, about fifteen thousand people gathered in a small town in Pennsylvania called Gettysburg. They were there to dedicate a piece of land where a battle had been fought four months before. About eight thousand American soldiers had died there.
The principal remarks for the occasion were to be given by a great orator—Edward Everett. Some two hours and 13,607 words later, Everett completed his speech. No doubt the people were shifting in their seats by the time Abraham Lincoln stood to speak to the crowd. He spoke just 271 words and it took less than two minutes. In fact, his speech was so short that some did not even hear him. They were settling in for another long oration, and soon he was done.
Some who sat in the crowd that day in Gettysburg probably believed Edward Everett to be the most notable speaker of the day, as he was given the most prominent position. On the other hand, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is now considered one of the most famous speeches in American history, and also one of the greatest. Even most school-age children are familiar with its beginning, “Four score and seven years ago . . .” Yet, both were only speeches. Some people missed Lincoln’s, and most have never heard of Everett’s.
Even the speeches that we consider to be stirring and inspiring are just words. Regardless of how great they seem to be, it is not spiritually significant if we hear or understand them. However, Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” Those are words that we need to understand! They are what will lead us to a life of victory and eventually to an eternal home in Heaven.
We are blessed to have access to the words Jesus spoke while He lived on earth, and we would be foolish not to study them and get all we can from them. His speech is not just stirring and inspiring, although it is those things, too. But most of all, His words are life!