Do we underestimate the power of God’s word? It is far more powerful than any of us could imagine. However powerful you imagine it to be, it is greater. The power of the human word usually depends on the one doing the talking. We are to submit to “the powers that be” in civil government, but a higher power has told us to do that (Rom.13:1 f; 1 Pet. 2:13-15). It is contained within the gospel, God’s power to save (Rom.1:16).
Consider the spoken word of God. It is so powerful that God spoke the world into existence. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God (Heb. 11:3). By the word of the Lord were the heavens made .. . For he spake, and it was done; he commanded and it stood firm (Ps. 33:6, 9). In Genesis 1 the phrase “God said” appears ten times. Whatever God said, it happened! Keep in mind that it was his son “through whom also he made the worlds” (Heb. 1:2). “For in him were all things created … ” (Col.1:16). “All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that has been made” (John 1:3). Stand in awe at this power!
Consider also the written word of God. How powerful was it? The written Old Testament was available in Jesus’ day. It was so powerful that by quoting the written word Jesus resisted the devil. The devil never attempted anything like that again. Then the devil left him (Matt. 4:11). Furthermore, it was powerful enough to prevent the rich man’s five brothers from going to the place of torment (Luke 16:19-31).
Let’s now look at the spoken word of Jesus. How powerful is it? It is powerful enough to sustain the universe and keep it operating. He is upholding all things by the word of his power (Heb. 1:3). Imagine the tremendous amount of power it takes to sustain this universe! And “in him all things consist” (Col. 1:17). Marvel at such power.
The spoken word of Jesus was so powerful that the centurion’s servant was healed the same hour without Jesus seeing or touching him (Matt. 8:8-13). Some of the fake healers of today will nearly squeeze one’s head off and the person is still no better than when he first began.
It was the spoken word of Christ that calmed the sea (Mk 4:35-39). None of today’s so-called miracle workers would even attempt to control the weather.
It was by the spoken word of Christ that the dead were raised: (1) son of the widow of Nain, “Young man, I say unto you, arise” (Luke 7:14). (2) Jairus’ daughter, “Maid, arise” (Luke 8:54). (3) Lazarus, “Lazarus, come forth!” (Jn 11:43). Truly, the word of the Lord is exceedingly powerful. This is because of who he is (Matt.28:18).
Finally, consider the written word of Jesus. How powerful is it? The gospel was put in written form that it might be more easily preserved. It also is more conducive to each person having his own copy of this valuable treasure. The written word of Jesus is just as powerful as his spoken word. The Scriptures make no distinction in the power of either. The written record of Jesus’ works was so powerful that John said one could have life by believing the written record of it. “Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in his name (by his authority or power)” (Jn 20:30, 31). The gospel is the written word (Eph.3:3, 4 f; Rom.1:16).
Just as the written word of Moses and the prophets could have prevented the rich man’s brothers from torment in flames, so can the written message of Christ prevent us from such a fate. Abraham said, “They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them” (Luke 16:29). Remember, it was the writings of Moses and the prophets to which Abraham referred. Jesus said if they would not believe the written word neither would they believe if one rose from the dead (v.31). There is no difference in the power of God’s spoken word and his written word!
They had Moses and the prophets. It had already been written and confirmed (Gal. 3:15). Men today have Christ and the apostles. What they said has already been written and confirmed (Heb.2:3, 4). We stand in the same relationship to Christ and the apostles as the five brothers did to Moses and the prophets. If men won’t believe the written word of Christ and the apostles, neither would they believe if one rose from the dead. Incidentally, one did, and his name is Jesus Christ.