February Sermon illustration

February 07, 2010

Finding the Meaning

When the late Dr. John G. Paton was a missionary in the New Hebrides, he wanted to translate the Gospel of John into the native tongue. He had worked on the Gospel and found that there wasn't a word—at least he couldn't locate a word—in the native tongue which meant "believe." How could he translate the Gospel of John without a word for "believe"? If it is the key word (and it is) and if it is true that the word occurs more than ninety times (and it does), how could you translate it if you didn't have any word to correspond with it? So he laid his manuscript aside.

But one day one of the native workers who had been out over the hills in some Christian service came in to Dr. Paton's office, and sitting in one chair and putting his feet up on another, he used a native word which meant, "I am resting my whole weight on these two chairs." There was one native word which meant all this—"I am resting my whole weight upon." And Dr. Paton said, "I have my word." He translated the Gospel of John, and every time he needed a word for "believe," he put in the word which meant, "I am resting my whole weight upon."

Let us try it and see how it works. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever resteth his whole weight upon him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that rest their whole weight upon him" (John 1:12). Is that it? Yes, that is it! "What must I do to be saved?" "Rest your whole weight upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Is that it? Yes, that is it!—Will H. Houghton, in The Living Christ.

Subjects: Faith

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