Cornelius Nkoroh is a Theologian and a Philosopher. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Theology from the Pontifical Urban University, Rome.
The categories of the words of Jesus
Everything Jesus said can be put under four major categories. They are: the promissory words, the admonitory words or instructive words, the commanding words and the reprimanding words. In this article I wish to expose these categories one after the other and finally state the importance to the Christian.
The promissory words of Jesus
A promise is a declaration stating what one will do or what one will not do. For instance, a dad may promise to buy a car for the son. It does not mean he has bought the car but he has made the declaration. The son will hold on to that promise with the hope that one day the dad will fulfill the promise. The promissory words of Jesus christ are those promises made by Jesus to his disciples in the gospels. One of such promises is where he told the disciples that he will send them the Holy Spirit. A promise he later fulfilled in the Acts of the Apostles. He also promised to prepare a place for the Christians in heaven. This promise every living Christian is still waiting expectantly for its fulfillment at the end of time. There are still many other promises of Christ and it is these promises that gives the Christian the hope in order to keep to his faith since he knows his faith will not be in vain.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
The commanding words of Jesus Christ
A command is an order given by a person to another to do something or to refrain from doing so. In the gospels, there are several instances where Christ issued one command or the other. The most outstanding of all these commands is the command to preach the good news. This can be seen in almost the four gospels. Mathew recorded his in the 28 chapter of his work, where Christ said 'go you therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. He ended it with a promise "I am with you till the end of the World". Throughout his ministry as recorded in the gospels, He used commands during the healing of the sick and in casting out demons. He told the leper " go and show yourself to the high priest". To the paralytic he said " Get up, take your mat and go". These are all commands.
The admonitory or Instructive words of Christ
An admonition is an advice or instruction given to one in a bid to help that person improve in his dealings. In many cultures, it is mainly elders that advise the young due to their wealth of experiences. The admonitory words of Christ are those instructions he gave to his disciples on how to achieve heaven. Christ came from heaven and only him knows the way to the Father who lives in heaven. On many occasions, he is seen as recorded in the scriptures advising his disciples on the best way to follow and on the how to live their lives. The sermon on the mount can be seen as a prototype of the admonitions of Christ. He enjoins them to be poor in spirit, pure in heart, peacemakers, to thirst and hunger for what is right. He tells his disciples about the wide gate and the narrow gate. the narrow gate he said leads to life. He is seen teaching and preaching on how to live an upright life. He admonishes on the right action to take even in the face of persecutions.
“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”
The reprimanding words of Christ
To reprimand means to rebuke someone and telling him that what he did is not good, The reprimanding words of Jesus are those words Jesus used to rebuke someone who did not get it right or the devil. Jesus during his ministry did use reprimands. We can see the occasions where he rebuked the devil. He even reprimanded Peter telling him 'get thee behind me Satan'.This was because Peter was standing on his way which is the way of the cross. Without the cross, his mission could not have been fulfilled. This made him to correct Peter with a reprimand when Peter out of ignorance objected the idea that Christ has to suffer and die.
What does this mean for the Christian
The categories enunciated are meant for the Christians of today. Christ in his teachings has reprimands for the Christians who is not doing well in his Christian life. He has an established promise for every Christian. It is the promises that gives hope and Courage. In times of trouble, confusion and helplessness, Christ has words of admonition for the Christian. In his everyday life the Christian hears the command of Christ to take up his cross and follow him the master. He hears the command to make disciples of all nations. He hears the command to preach the good news. The best form of preaching for every Christian is not just carrying the bible to people's houses. The best form of preaching a Christian can give is a testimony of his life. Let the life you live as a Christian preach more to people than your words. Action they say speaks louder than words. Christ taught by example. He lived a very simple and poor life. How I wish Christians can go back to the Scriptures and rediscover Christ through his words. The world we live in is in need of true Christians who will live after the teachings of Christ.