Christian Speech-Acts of Request
After Jesus delivered his famous Sermon on the Mount, he came down from the mountain with a multitude of followers (Mt. 7:28-29). The gravity of his authoritative speech astonished the people because he spoke to them with soul-penetrating power. He was not like the religious leaders of their day – the Scribes and Pharisees – who, through their hypocrisy, betrayed their religious belief. Jesus was a man of great moral and spiritual integrity. There’s something within him that gave divine validation and radiation to His words and action. He said in John 5:19,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.”
In other words, the authority of Jesus’ speech-act comes from his genuine relationship with the Father. He was indeed the Son of God. We listen and obey him because of who he is. Thus, when it comes to our relationship with him, our speech- act expression should be characterized with submission. In fact, after his Sermon on the Mount, there was a leper who came to him. Matthew 8:2-3 tells us the story. It says,
When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
Do you see that? The leper was one of those who listened to Jesus during his sermon. He knew and felt the divine aura from the way Jesus spoke the manifesto of the heavenly Kingdom. Thus, when he approached Jesus, he worshipped him. Of course, he had an intended request in his heart. He wanted to be healed. But the realization that Jesus was not a mere man or a common religious leader, moved him to bow down before Jesus. This is a demonstration of genuine submission. When we request something from the Lord, we ask it with a heart of humility and praise. In fact, this is the essential difference of the Christian speech-act from the speech-act of the world. Whenthe people of the world request something of us, they usually express it with a hidden, selfish motive or agenda. Of course, they delicately express it with kind words of “please” and “can you do me a favor?” But at the bottom of their motives, they are manipulating us to give something for their benefit (Prov. 23:7). When it comes to our relationship with Jesus, this ought not to be case. Like the leper, our requests should come from worship. Right requests come from sincere worship. We worship God not because we want Him to grant our requests. Worship is not an art or speech of flattery. Worship is giving something that is of worth to the object of its expression. Thus, we worship God because we know, like the leper, that there’s something within Him – His Person – that is worthy to be praised. And so, when we lift our requests to the Lord, we bring them with an attitude of humility and trust that whatever His response is, it’s for our own good. Like the leper, we say, “Lord, if you will…” That’s the speech of Christian prayer, and how wonderful it is that God acts with dramatic goodness to answer such kinds of requests.
Experience the Power of Prophecy as a gift to open your mind to receive the Mind of Christ.
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