Keeping the Word
“If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. “ John 15:29
A frequent exhortation in the Gospels is “to keep the word”. The word in Greek is a lot more nuanced than keep. In the original language of the New Testament the word is terao which has the connotation of guard or treasure. We should prize God’s words to us. Mary held the words of the angels in her heart that first Christmas. “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Luke 2:19
The Library of Congress holds an estimated twenty million books and serial volumes. The most valuable book in whole collection is the Gutenberg Bible. The price of a complete copy today is estimated at $25-35 million. Individual leaves now sell for $20,000-$100,000, For us Christians the Bible is precious and beyond value not because of its’ historical and cultural value, but because it contains the word of God. It’s message is full of the power and intimacy of His word.
The word is prized for its power. “For He spoke, and creation was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.” Ps 33:9 We are assured that the word “is living and active,” Heb 4:12 When we open our minds and hearts to listen to God’s word in SS we are exposed to the same power that called a rotting corpse out of the grave! “Lazarus come here!”
This is why the Church has always held in extreme reverence the place of Scripture in both its devotional and its liturgical life.
God’s word has not only God’s immense power behind it but it is an extension of his very self. The closest we can get to each other is by communication. God has an immense investment in us when He speaks to us. He shares what is deepest in His heart and mind with us and enables us to respond to Him from our minds and hearts. When we are sincere in our desire to be friends with Christ, one of first places to which we turn to a God who is intensely concerned to speak to us!
One of the amazing lines in Scripture is when Jesus said: “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” Lk 8:21 Communication by listening to the word brings us to a wonderful family intimacy with Christ! This family inclusion goes right into the Father’s bosom. “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Jh 14:23
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.