Why Jesus Spoke Aramaic

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by Santosh Poonen

“We see that Jesus was made for a little while lower than the angels. Since we children share the same flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same… for He does not give help to angels, but to the descendants of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God. We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 2:9-17, 4:14-15).

Every now and then I come across someone who loves to simply recite Scripture. Sometimes it’s in a sermon, in which case the lengthier the memorized passage, the more impressive the sermon. At other times, it’s in casual conversation, in which case interjecting the “perfect” verse in response to a question or to prove a point, makes the speaker appear that much more “spiritual”. I know, because I used to try to be just such a person.

Now consider the spirit in which Jesus came into this world. As God, He is the very author of Scripture. Yet, in His recorded words in the Gospels, on only a few occasions do we see Him quoting exactly from the Scriptures (i.e., the Old Testament, in His day). If anyone owned the “copyright” on God’s Word it was Jesus. Yet, He spoke in Aramaic, the everyday language of the people, and used stories of everyday life to reveal the kingdom of heaven in plain terms.

In fact, it was the religious Pharisees of Christ’s day who loved to recite their long religious words “in order to be seen by men” (Matthew 6:5). As a result they impressed people with their theological expertise, but wouldn’t even lift a finger to help them (Matthew 23:4-5). Jesus, by contrast, in choosing to become like us in all things – even the way He spoke – became a merciful and sympathetic example to us. He became someone we could relate to.

Today again, the Father is looking for such a “Jesus” – His Church, the Body of Christ – who will be His ambassadors of reconciliation, as though God were entreating the world through our lives (II Corinthians 5:18-21). And, just like the true Jesus of whom we read in the Gospels, the Father will reveal this glory in simple and clear language that even a little child can understand.

Christ’s mission on earth was to take God’s Word and make it alive (“flesh”) among us; only then was the glory of God revealed in its balanced majesty – full of grace and truth (John 1:14). And the same mission is entrusted to us today. As long as God’s spoken Word remains just that – spoken – there is a veil over the hearts of those who hear it. But, when that spoken Word transforms our everyday lives through little steps of glory into the very “living” image of God, the Father is then revealed to all of mankind in all His true glory (II Corinthians 3:15-18).

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3 Responses to "Why Jesus Spoke Aramaic"

  1. Kissiedu Faisal, Ghana
    Kissiedu Faisal, Ghana Posted on February 9, 2011 at 10:59 am

    It is of a truth what you said, Man of God. Thank you for enlighten me and I pray the Lord Jesus to help me in my daily outreach to people and also living as He needs me to live. God bless you and your family for such wonderful messages, and please pray for me.

  2. Alex Horvath
    Alex Horvath Posted on December 12, 2010 at 11:11 am


  3. Angelica Sicoi
    Angelica Sicoi Posted on July 14, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    eye opening
    Oh how I wish to put to practice everything I learned.
    May GOD BLESS all his servants and open doors for His Word to be proclamed in His full strenth and Glory, in all the world.

    My family and I love you guys.
    GOD BLESS YOU!!!!!!

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