What a difference a word makes. One little word can entirely change the meaning of a sentence. And, one little word can completely change a life.
Have you ever considered just how significant the difference between the definite article and the indefinite article can be?
I think I just heard someone sigh and say, ”Uh-oh, here comes the grammar nerd again!” Yes, but hear me out, ok?
I can confidently say that I am not the only grammar nerd out there who thinks about such things as definite articles and their meaning and importance. In fact, this post was prompted by the sermon my pastor preached on a recent Sunday. It really got me thinking and this post is the result.
Back to articles—definite and indefinite. Little words, to be sure. Indefinite: a, an. Definite: the.
Now that we are up to speed in this little grammar lesson, where in the world are we going with this? Let’s get on with it!
It is the definite article that we will be looking at here. In the sermon below, Pastor Mike Glenn is talking about the importance of even the littlest words in the Bible. He begins with the first word in the Bible—’in’. (He has some profound words about that tiny first word, but I will leave that for another day. Or, you can hear it in the video at the end of this post.) Then he says the following: ”The next word—‘the’, definite article. You do know that that’s the word that got Jesus crucified? That word. Not Son of God, not Savior, not Lord, not Messiah—THE.”
Wait. What? The definite article got Jesus crucified?
The Jewish leaders said Jesus committed blasphemy when He said He is the Son of God, and blasphemy was punishable by death according to the Torah. This is the accusation they made against Him to Pilate. They would not have cared at all if He had said He was ‘a’ son of God. But that definite article ‘the’ changed everything! By using the definite article, Jesus set Himself apart as the only begotten son, and the Jewish leaders understood the difference.
“Do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?”
John 10:36 NKJV (emphasis mine)
“The Jewish leaders insisted, ‘We have a law, and according to that law He must die, because He claimed to be the Son of God.’”
John 19:7 NIV (emphasis mine)
Even today, the definite article causes controversy. Many people have problems with the “exclusivity” of Christianity. The world feels much more comfortable with many ways to God and many are even willing to accept Jesus as ’a’ way to heaven; but they draw a line in the sand at ‘the’ way. But, Jesus was explicit that there is no other way to God, the Father, Yehovah, except through Him. In John 14:6, the definite article drives this point home.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”
John 14:6 NKJV (emphasis mine)
‘The’ truth, and ‘the’ life give rise to controversies of their own. Today, truth is often preceded by words like my and your. We hear people talk about ”my” truth or ”your” truth, but eventually my truth and yours will run smack dab into THE truth, and if our truth is different, it will be destroyed. The same thing applies to life. The life that is in Jesus goes far beyond this life as we know it. If we fail to accept THE way and THE truth that Jesus is, we will not have access to THE life that is found only in Him. Even though the way to the truth and the life is exclusive, everyone has access to all three by believing that Jesus is the one and only Son of God.
Don’t let your truth blind you to the truth.
Jesus also said He is the door, the Good Shepherd, and the bread of life. He is also the Word.
So what’s in a word… JESUS!
You can watch the entire sermon by Mike Glenn (Brentwood Baptist Church) below. It is well worth your time. Blessings!
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Featured image by Bablab via Canva.