As we are interacting with the way Jesus communicated as a model to us all, one question comes to mind. If the communication style of Jesus was about telling relevant stories and asking good questions, what do we do with The Sermon on the Mount(Matthew 5-7)?
This is a valid question, especially when we see the word “Sermon” in many Bible translations. Some may use this as evidence of focusing primarily on using good sermon and lecturing. However, when we look at the passage more closely we will see that the way Jesus “preached” was not like the traditional ways we often preach in the pulpits today.
4. Jesus related truth to real life.
In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus used components that were common to life with common themes and topics, addressing practical issues. Salt and light. Anger. Lust. Divorce. Taking oaths. Revenge. Love for enemies. Giving. How to pray. Fasting. Anxiousness. Judging. The Golden Rule. Fruitful living. He addressed the real needs of the people.
And the way Jesus knew their needs was because he had spent time with them, asked them questions, listened, and ate with them. In his book Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility, Duane Elmer says,
I am disturbed by leaders who isolate themselves in their study for most of the week, spending little time being with people, and then deliver exegetically correct and rhetorically powerful sermons that are irrelevant to the person in the pew. The same is true for organizational leaders who are preoccupied with conferences, trips, and ‘important’ meetings but who rarely take time to listen to their employees.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus employed the use of word pictures and imagery.
He used language that the people could understand in a way that wasn’t offending. And when he wrapped up his sermon with the picture of the wise and foolish builder, he was demonstrating (again, through story) that simply teaching without application is useless. Whatever Jesus spoke to them and whatever the people heard from him, they were to apply to their lives.
So, if we look at the Sermon on the Mount again through these lens what do we see differently now?
The past few weeks we began talking about Jesus, the Master Communicator. When we encounter Jesus in the New Testament we tend to view him through the lens of him as our Savior and Lord. But how often do we view him through the lens of Jesus the Master Communicator? In light of this, what are some ways we can adopt this communication style in our own communication of the gospel in formal and non-formal ways?
Over these six weeks we are highlighting some of the communication styles of Jesus. The first week we talked about how Jesus used good stories. Then we looked at how Jesus used rich imagery. Last week we discussed the way Jesus asked good questions. Let’s explore the fourth communication style today.