Taking Jesus at His Words

Jesus said, “The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day” (Jn. 12:48).

In some parts of America, the label “Christian” is still a celebrated identifier. What someone means by claiming such a moniker is usually little more than simply saying, “I believe in Jesus.” But even this phrase begs greater specificity. What do you mean by “believe?” And who is “Jesus?” The Bible reveals substantial answers to these questions, and the Bible warns us to take the words seriously.

In fact, Jesus Himself so closely associated His person and His words that one cannot receive or reject one without doing the same to the other. To receive Jesus is to receive His words, and to reject His words is to reject Jesus. The plain and absolute nature of this proposition rubs against our modern sensibilities, but it is no less reasonable or consistent.

The words of Jesus Christ are indeed the promises and precepts of eternal life. The one who hears and obeys Jesus has no judge, but rather enjoys freedom from condemnation altogether. But the one who does not receive Christ’s words… who does not hear and obey Christ’s words… that one will be judged and condemned by those same words on the last day.

Judge Rightly

“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (John 7:24).

Judgment is not well-received in our day. If someone points to an activity or desire, calling it morally wrong, then many people will likely take offense at such a “bigoted” judgment. It sometimes appears that passing moral judgment is the only thing someone in Western culture can condemn as morally wicked.

Jesus was not against making moral judgments. In fact, He advocated and even commanded that people judge. However, Jesus’ great emphasis was on making right judgments as opposed to superficial ones. Jesus seems to agree with mom… a book should not be judged by its cover. But Jesus did command us to judge a book by its content.

The first judgment one should make pertains to Jesus Himself. He is God; He is Savior; He is the highest and truest of all appraisers. After one rightly understands who Jesus is, then all other judgments should be based on Jesus’ verdict.

May God help us to judge rightly… first, understanding Jesus as highest and truest, and then judging all things according to Christ’s own judgments.