Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Hard Sayings of Jesus

"Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it” (Jho. 6:60)? Within the Bible, Jesus, the son of God, is portrayed as the Master Teacher. His powerful demonstration of logic (Mark 2:17), God-given authority (Mat. 28:18), unending compassion (2 Cor. 13:11; 1 Jho. 4:8), and ability to preach the gospel in a simple and forthright manner caused many people to be “astonished” (Mat. 7:28-29) at His teachings! It is no wonder then that John declared, “The officers answered, Never man spake like this man” (Jho. 7:46). With the deepest of respect towards He who died for us (Rom. 5:8-9), may we dig deep into the Sacred Writing, that we might delight ourselves as students of the hard sayings of Jesus!

First, may I point out that the hard sayings of Jesus, in no way casts any type of negative reflection upon Deity. Rather, to the contrary, a loving earthly father, as well as, a loving God, chastises His children (Heb. 12:6-8), and warns those outside the kingdom (Jho. 3:1-8). May we never underscore the love Jesus Christ displayed to the entire world, in hanging on a tree (Gal. 3:13). Nevertheless, as faithful members of His church, we must learn not only to appreciate the hard sayings of Jesus, but to allow these principles of truth to guide us along the “strait and narrow path” (Mat. 7:13-14), that leads to eternal life.
Let us turn our attention to many of the hard sayings that came from the lips of our Lord while He graced this earth with His steps. In Matthew 7:21-24 the Bible reads, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Friends, is this not a hard saying for many people to receive? Within the foregoing passage of Scripture, Jesus declares the absolute necessity of obedience to the Father’s will! As we turn over to Matthew 10:34-38, Jesus continues with His hard sayings! “Think not that I am come to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followed after me, is not worthy of me.” Wow, this is definitely a hard saying! I suppose there is no greater recognized relationship on earth than the parent/child relationship. Therefore, if our love for Christ and His kingdom must surpass our love for our earthly parents, He will be the utmost priority in life. Last but not least, how could anyone overlook the hard sayings that our Lord gave concerning marriage, divorce and remarriage? “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mark 10:9).
Friends, Jesus speaks highly of the institution of marriage. In Matthew 19:3, “The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” After a  brief controversy, He concluded His divine thoughts on this subject when He gave one of the hardest sayings the world has ever heard. “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth which is put away doth commit adultery” (Mat. 19:9). Notice, “But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. .. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it” (vv. 11-12).  He who would give His life a ransom for the many (Mat. 20:28), never turned away from hard sayings, even when it would cost Him disciples (Jho. 6:66). Its not about how many disciples but about truth (Jho. 8:32).

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