In 1992, Gary Chapman published a book entitled, The Five Love Languages and a few years later, he co-wrote with Ross Campbell the Five Love Languages of Children. The premise of both books is that our personalities and natures naturally respond better to one of the five major expressions of love. They include words of affirmation; quality time spent together, the receiving of gifts, acts of service and physical touch.
The merits of these books stand on their own, but I am intrigued by the premise that we all receive love best when it is expressed in our “language.” There was an incredible example of that last Friday.
Three days ago, we commemorated and cherished the death of our Savor. We call that in our culture, “Good Friday.” And it was fundamentally GOOD. Because of His passion for the lost, Jesus chose to allow the Roman solders to crucify Him. And the gift of Himself in such a horrible death paid the price for our sin. Rather than to be condemned under the weight of our own sin burden, His sacrifice made a way for Almighty God to accept us and declare us righteous in Him .
But as you thought about the story of His passion, did you happen to see the detail that John gave us in John 19:19-22? “Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek.”
Everyone who passed by could read the sign. Aramaic was the language of the nation of Israel. Latin was the language of the ruling government of Rome and Greek was the common language of the culture. Regardless of your background, place of birth or status in society, you could read that sign.
And that sign declared that Jesus WAS the King of the Jews. Even Pilate refused to tweak it to read, “He said he was the King…” No, the statement was declared for all to see- Christ is the King! That sign got the attention of one of the thieves on the cross and he went THAT DAY to be with Jesus in paradise.
God is committed by His very nature to speak to all mankind the words of confrontation and grace. He is not willing that any should perish (II Peter 3:9). And I am convinced that there is no language that God will not speak in order to get our attention.
Sometimes, the effective language is NEED. And the Lord speaks to us out of our distress and reminds us of His providence. Sometimes He speaks to us out of our ABUNDANCE. We have much and He reminds us to be grateful for His blessings. Sometimes He speaks to us in our STRESS and STRAIN. He calmly reminds us of His personal care.
Regardless of the need, I am certain that God speaks our language. Let’s make sure we are all listening this week. We can echo the words of young Samuel in I Samuel 3, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”