You snakes – how can you say good things when you are evil? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good person brings good things out of his treasure of good things; a bad person brings bad things out of his treasure of bad things.
You can be sure that on the Judgment Day everyone will have to give account of every useless word he has ever spoken. Your words will be used to judge you – to declare you either innocent or guilty.
[Jesus continues to lecture the Pharisees about the authority to drive out demons. See Day 116 for background.]
This is the last in a series of statements Jesus makes after the Pharisees accuse him of using the devil’s power to drive out demons. It’s really kind of funny. After having engaged them with all kinds of logic in the previous scriptures, he caps it off by calling them names. He calls them snakes. “You snakes”, he says. In the King James version it’s “brood of vipers.” I’m laughing at this. The next time I hear someone telling their kids that they shouldn’t call people names I will think of Jesus calling the Pharisees snakes.
After calling them snakes he talks about their mouths reveal what’s in their hearts. Then he warns them about the power of words and how they can get you into trouble. He tells them that outspoken ignorance has a way of coming back to haunt you.
Jesus’ warning about the power of words is an important Jewish tradition. All you have to do is go to the book of Proverbs for a lot of warnings about words:
- A good person’s words are like pure silver; a wicked person’s ideas are worthless (Proverbs 10:20).
- A good person’s words will benefit many people, but you can kill yourself with stupidity (Proverbs 10:21).
- Righteous people speak wisdom, but the tongue that speaks evil will be stopped. (Proverbs 10:31).
- It is foolish to speak scornfully of others. If you are smart, you will keep quiet (Proverbs 11:12)
- Proud fools talk too much; the words of the wise protect them (Proverbs 14:3).
- When wise people speak, they make knowledge attractive, but stupid people spout nonsense (Proverbs 15:2).
- Intelligent people think before they speak; what they say is then more persuasive (Proverbs 16:23).
- What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words. (Proverbs 18:22).
Gotta love those Proverbs. Zingers, strategic as a sniper’s bullets. They get right to the heart of things. And the heart is where all those bad words come from. If there are a lot of bad things coming out of your mouth, you need to work on the state of your heart. You should be able to see a lot of love in there. If that isn’t what you see you need to get some help from a good spiritual adviser.
So watch your mouth because if you say something evil Jesus will call names. “You snake,” he will say. As for the eternal consequences of Judgment Day, I will start sharing about that on Day 122. Stay tuned.
What does this scripture say to you?