What Is This Word?

I googled “long words,” and I found the
following: floccinaucinihilipilification,
tergiversation, and
Interestingly, the Microsoft Word grammar bot
flagged only the last one. I did not look to see
what were the meanings of the first two
words, but I found it fascinating that the last
one (the “hippo” one) means “fear of long
words.” Also fascinating is that it is 36 letters
long, yet the definition is only 15 letters. There
is something ironic and hilarious about that, at
least in my brain. What a crazy language we
Words matter. Words are important. Some
may think I say that only because I am a word
nerd. I certainly am a word nerd—confessed
and proud. Yet the real reason for saying that
words matter is this: the way in which we use
our speech is vital. It is critical. It is of the
utmost importance to the God we serve. It has
eternal significance. With a word we can fill
others with joy and peace. With a word we
also can ruin another person’s day, week,
month, year, or even their life. We have the
power—with our words—to tear down or to
build up. We each carry within us a powerful
instrument (or weapon) that we call the
tongue. As James aptly writes, “The tongue is
a fire, a world of unrighteousness.” He further
refers to the tongue like this, “[it] is a small
member, yet it boasts of great things.” We
would all do well to be constant in watching
what we say. There is a lot at stake—far more
than we typically consider. Words matter.

At the end of May, I wrote an article
about authority. In brief, the idea was
twofold: first, we are all under some sort of
authority. There is no escaping that reality,
regardless how “high” up the ladder we may
be. Second, there is more than one type of
authority. There is positional authority, which
is based upon status, title, rank, etc. There
also is moral authority. Moral authority is
based upon an earned respect for lifestyle. It
is based upon rightfully accrued honor,
reverence, and the like. Like I said in that
article, Jesus has both positional and moral
authority. As God in the flesh, Jesus justly
has all authority (Matthew 28:18). God is the
ultimate authority, of course, whether in the
flesh or not, because he is God. In addition,
Jesus has moral authority. Because of the
life Jesus led, the way in which he interacted
with others, and the manner in which he
moved about in this world, he has perfect
moral authority.

In scripture, people often speak of Jesus
as one who has authority. Consistently, the
authority that they see in Jesus is in
evidence in one place: in his words. The
way in which Jesus speaks is far different
from anything that those who lived among
him had ever experienced. Jesus was not
“special” because of the way he looked—
Isaiah prophesied early on about that.
Messiah would not be recognized by his
physical appearance. Recognizing the
Messiah would not be a Samuel-looking-inawe-at-the-sons-of-Jesse type experience.
The Son of God would not be identifiable
because he looked like Adonis, or like some
superhero. Instead, the Son of God would be
recognized by the way in which he lived. He
would be known by his authority—an
authority manifested in the life he lived, and
in the words he spoke.
Shortly after being hounded out of
Nazareth by an angry crowd, Jesus was
back in Capernaum, doing what he did best.
After driving out a demon from a suffering
man, people were again amazed at Jesus. In
their wonder they asked a profound
question, “What is this word?” –Ricky

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