“Never Man Spake Like This Man” – Basil Overton

Basil Overton

On one occasion the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to take Jesus. These officers proceeded to do so, but when they found him and heard him speaking they were so astonished that they returned to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why have ye not brought him?” Whereupon the officers answered, “Never man spake like this man” (John 7:45-46).

There must be something marvelous about a man’s speech when even his avowed enemies proclaim, “Never man spake like this man.” These six words were an authentic report. They, like Pilate’s verdict, “I find no fault in him” were spoken by the enemies of the Master, but have been endorsed through the ages by mankind as being a brief, yet thorough analysis of the Master Teacher. The same can still be said of him even though millions of men have spoken since this Galilean peasant spake.

A perusal of the four Gospel narratives will convince a man that it can still be truthfully said of Jesus of Nazareth, that he spake as never man spake. Though he has not been within the sight and hearing of men for nearly two thousand years, he still changes the hearts of men. His words still take men from the gutters and slums of sinful life and make out of them saints of the Great Jehovah. He still affects people as no one else does, by the power of the words which he spake. He is the only one who ever spoke whose words though ever so ancient, are ever so new and life-giving. He spake in such a way so that centuries after, men would die in licking flames because of what he said, or be devoured by vicious lions in a Roman Arena—men who never saw, never touched, nor heard him.

Other teachers give us some principles of right, but none give all. Those which they do give are but an echo of what the Master Teacher taught. If all the teachings of all men were pooled they would not begin to reach the level of his teachings. Though men may vehemently oppose what Jesus taught, not one can cite where he ever taught anything ungodly or sinful. What he taught about rights and wrongs, in principle and practice are so full and perfect that even the best of men cannot find one thing wrong with it, nor can they conceive of even one virtue he did not teach or one evil he did not oppose and condemn. The standard he set forth is so high that none of us can even learn it completely, much less add anything to it.

Jesus Christ was not a philosopher as men count philosophers. He did not argue the existence of God, heaven, hell, the devil, angels, spirits, etc. He spake in dogmatic tones about such, taking for granted that men accepted the fact of their existence. He did not try to prove He had a heavenly Father, He merely talked of Him and to Him, making his existence axiomatic. He did not try to prove that prayer was a real communication with the heavenly Father, He merely taught men to say “Our Father which art in heaven.” He did not try to prove the reality of sin and separation from God, He merely told men they were sinners, called on them to get rid of their sins, and told them how to do it. He taught that whoever would believe the Gospel concerning him and be baptized, having turned from sin would be saved from sin.

Jesus Christ could teach lessons on the most profound subjects such as life and death, mind and matter, right and wrong, time and eternity, the resurrection of the dead, heaven and hell, body and soul, and do it in such a way that “the common people heard him gladly.” One of the marvelous things about this man that spake as never man spake is that He could announce all these wonderful truths and remain perfectly poised; retain a calmness and balance of mind that evidently caused men to say “never man spake like this man.” Men, ordinary men, who make discoveries or inventions become excited when they announce their work. Their mental powers become unbalanced and have been known to go into a rage. But there is no indication that Jesus Christ was ever mentally unbalanced, scared or excited over any of the wonderful announcements he made. He must have retained that calmness of soul when the officers came for Him (John 7), a calmness which they could not conquer and which caused them to return without Him and say, “Never man spake like this man.”

The teaching of Jesus was far-reaching, it was a cosmopolitan doctrine. He could stand on Zion’s height or on a Galilean hillside and dramatize men of centuries ahead—men then unborn. He knew the best course for men of all future ages to pursue. He knew man’s spiritual needs and He knew they would not change. Though He never transgressed, so far as we know, the narrow limits of Palestine, He was able to speak a message that would fit perfectly into all the then known languages, and hundreds of languages which did not then exist—the one this scribe uses being one of them. When translated into any tongue, His words when believed and obeyed produce the same kind of characters—Christians. All are made into a likeness of the man who spake as never man spake.

Jesus spake as never man spake because of the deeds that accompanied his teaching. “The former treatise have I made O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach” (Acts 1:1). Just as the enemies of the Lord summed up in a few words His teaching so in fewer words His life of doing is summed up by the Apostle Peter who said of him, “…Who went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). Little wonder Jesus could teach such wonderful lessons on prayer when His own soul was absorbed in prayer. Little wonder He could teach so effectively, lessons on giving, seeing that His life was spent in giving, finally giving even His life and He hardly ever received anything. Truly He could say, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). If we could accompany our teaching with deeds and be like our Savior, then we must heed the Spirit’s admonition, “Take heed unto thyself and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee” (1 Tim. 4:16).

This man that spake as never man spake made demands and promises that no other man ever had or ever has made. Who else had said and who since has said, “Upon this rock I will build my church?” Who before had ever said to any man, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5)? Who else ever demanded that men believe He is the Son of God (John 8:24)? Who else ever told men to go out and preach repentance and remission of sins in His own name, unto all men, not just a few (Luke 24:47)? Who else ever said, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:15-16)? Some people don’t want to believe and meet some of the demands that Jesus made. But that does not destroy the fact that He made them. Dear reader, all that you could be by following the teaching of the man that spake as never man spake, is a Christian, a member of the Lord’s church. You can’t dispose of the demands of Christ until you obey them. What lackest thou?

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Author: Editor

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