Jesus on Rhetoric 

The news from this weekend has me thinking about what Jesus would say. What kind of language would Jesus use? How would He address problems in culture? It seems the plague of racism rides far more smoothly on a current of angry, hateful rhetoric.

 I think the following verses provide a few thoughts for the Christian to speak as Jesus spoke.

 Love God and love your neighbor (God’s creation too)

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] -Matthew 22:36-39

The first rule reminds us to love God and our neighbor. So, with every word, Post, tweet, email, YouTube video we need to model this love. A follower of Jesus passionately holds to his faith in God and his fellow man. 

When you read about Jesus in the Bible you see love. Time after time Jesus loves broken people, sinful people, and powerless people. Jesus loved God the father first but his love for others magnetically drew the broken to him.

I must hold the command to love in every word I speak. I must love in how I speak words. I must love in obedience to God in the rhetoric I use.

Jesus used confrontation against religious leaders, not sinners

The gospels contain a balance of stories where Jesus loves the unlovable and stories where he blasts the religious elite. But you know what’s missing? Jesus does not attack the Roman establishment. Jesus uses confrontational language to rebuke those who should’ve known better.

Really I see Jesus bending every opportunity to love on and care for others. He doesn’t ever bully his way to get what he wants. He speaks the truth in love. He rebuked religious leaders who turned faith into legalism.

I must set a high standard for myself as a “religious leader.” I must guard against making relationship into rules. I’m must speak with convincing love that befriends people far from God. I must speak with compassion and liveliness that even little children could love. And when and if I see hypocrisy and barriers being erected in the church I must treat them as Jesus would.


The life Jesus lived humbles me. He spoke with power and love. He confronted those who used their power to make faith into legalism. He lived out love in a world with far more division then I face today. And what He did changed history.

Maybe these thoughts on rhetoric will inspire me to use my language to encourage this week.

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