Never Man Spake Like This Man
John’s Gospel 7:31 reads: “And many of the people believed on Him, and said, When Christ cometh, will He do more miracles than these which this Man hath done?” Then follows the attempt of the Pharisees to arrest Jesus and on their return empty-handed, verse 45 continues. “Then came the officers to the chief priest and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought Him? And the officers answered, Never man spake like this Man.”
Instead of arresting Jesus as commanded, the officers were arrested by His wonderful utterances. They were impressed by His words as well as His works — His miracles. Notice they did not say, “He was so strong, we were unable to arrest Him” or “was so well-armed we were afraid to arrest Him.” Instead, their reason was that He spoke as no other man had ever spoken. I am sure this is the only time such a reason has been given for failure to apprehend an offender of the law.
Let us consider some features of the arresting words of the Lord Jesus.
Spoke With Originality
Humanly speaking Jesus was untaught. Nazareth was not a university town. He had not sat at the feet of a great teacher such as Gamaliel; nor at the feet of a great Gentile philosopher such as Plato. Hence the Scribes, Sadducees and Pharisees aware of the high cost of their own education exclaimed, “How knoweth this Man letters, having never learned?” (v.15). A carpenter shop had been His academy but He left the workbench to display a wisdom that amazed His hearers.
His teaching was contrary to much of the accepted tenents of His time. The Jews were looking for a Messiah who would break the Roman yoke and restore the glory of the dynasty of David. But this Man made no attempt to incite rebellion against the reigning Caesar. Hence the scorning Scribes, the skeptical Sadducees, the hpyocritical Pharisees, the ascetic Essenes, and the politcally-minded Herodians had no use for Christ or His message. They had forgotten the prophecies of a suffering Messiah but thought only of the “glories that should follow” i.e. His millennial reign.
His theology was contrary to the concepts of the great religious leaders of the past. He condemned idolatry in all its forms. His message of hope and assurance is the antithesis of Buddah’s gospel of despair. How His gospel of grace differs from the elaborate code of ethics and morals devised by Confucius! Nor did He speak as Socrates, Plato and Seneca, the Greek and Roman philosophers.
He Spoke With Authority
Philosophers in their search for truth are said to have concluded, “There is nothing certain but uncertainty.” The human mind is skilled in raising questions which it cannot answer. It has been said, “Man’s wisdom maps the frontiers of human knowledge very nicely, but makes small advance into the territory of mystery.”
On the other hand, there never was any uncertainty in the teaching of the Lord Jesus. “He did not argue: He announced. He never stops to prove: He proclaims.”
The Old Testament prophets prefaced their utterances with such expressions as: “Thus saith the Lord” or “The Lord spoke.” Jesus begins with, “Verily, verily,” or “Truly, truly, I say unto you.” Moses was recognized by the Jews as the greatest teacher of the Old Testament, but the Lord Jesus claimed to be greater than Moses, greater than Jonah, greater than the Sabbath and greater than the temple. He was greater than John the Baptist, who heralded His ministry. Yet, no teacher has been so maligned and so misunderstood. Men did not like to hear what He had to say because, “they loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
Would you know truth? Jesus said, “I am the Truth” and “he that is of the truth heareth My voice” (John 18:31). Being God, manifest in the flesh, He spoke as God, the supreme authority. It is incumbent on us to heed His words.
He Spoke With Simplicity Yet Profoundly
His language was so simple that even a child can understand His words, yet so profound the wisest sages are still seeking to fathom the depths of its meaning. He gave the answers to questions asked through the centuries. Consider these:
“Is there a God?” Yes, for He said, “I ascend unto My Father and your Father, to My God and your God” (John 20:17).
“If there is a God, can a man know Him?” The Lord answers, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” This in response to Philip’s request, “Show us the Father and it sufficeth us” (John 14:8).
“Has God forgotten the world?” No, for we read, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John. 3:16).
“Does God judge sinners?” Christ’s reply is, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22).
“Will God punish sinners?” Heed His words, “If thy hand offend thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched; where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:43, 44).
“Can sinners escape this doom?” Again yes, “The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
“Does this mean that sins can be forgiven?” True, for the Man who spake as never man spake said, “The Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins” (Matt. 9:6).
Finally: “Is there anything after death for those who trust Christ?” Listen to His assuring words: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions: If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-2). Think of being with that blessed One, with all the Father’s family. Yes, there is not only something beyond, but better still Someone beyond — the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us. We shall see Him in all His glory and be like Him and be with Him forever.
There are seven “I ams” of Jesus found in John’s Gospel. There are no intricate or complicated terms used, but words a child in grade one understands; yet none of us fully comprehend what they mean.
He said, “I am the Bread of Life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger” (6:35). Are you feeding your soul on this bread?
Again, “I am the Light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (8:12). Are you stumbling in darkness?
Do you feel deft outside of everything? Listen: “I am the Door: by Me if any man enter in he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture” (10:9).
Then He said, “I am the Good Shepherd; the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep” (10:11). This He did on the cross.
Of death He said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (11:25).
Wonderful are His words, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me” (14:6). The way — the path to God is a person, even Jesus Christ.
And the final “I am,” is, “I am the True Vine” (15:1). Believers are branches from that Vine, receiving their life from Him.
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter.” Will you heed the words of the Man who spake as never man spake? Accept Him as Saviour if you have not already done so.
“Thou alone, Lord Jesus, canst true peace impart,
Thou dost know the sorrows of the human heart;
Thou Who cam’st from glory here the heart to win,
And in love for sinners, suffer’dst once for sin!
There is none Lord Jesus, there is none like Thee,
For the broken-hearted, there is none like Thee.”