Monday, March 27, 2017
Most Christians believe obedience to Jesus is essential to their salvation. Yet, most of us aren’t real quick to respond to every command given by our Lord. If we were asked, “Are you faithful in your obedience to Jesus,” most would answer “yes.” We don’t mean to lie, but in a sense, we have! If we wanted to justify ourselves, we could call upon Paul and the other apostles because their path is no different from ours! Disobedience feels more comfortable when shared with our kin!
A certain ruler asked Jesus, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22). Have we, as followers of Jesus, done that? Are our explanations as to why we haven’t obeyed this command, valid or flimsy?
Jesus said, “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away . . . If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away” (Matthew 5:29-30). Since we still have our right eye and hand, one of two possibilities is true. Either we have never sinned or we have refused to obey this command! Are our explanations valid or flimsy?
Peter informed Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you!” (Mark 10:28). Jesus countered with, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29). Is that what we’ve done? Are our explanations valid or flimsy?
Jesus also stated, “But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:39-42). Do we follow his teaching to the letter? Are our explanations valid or flimsy?
“Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16).
These passages illustrate that not every command from the mouth of Jesus is black and white or literal. Sometimes an extreme illustration is used to teach a spiritual lesson. This is when we need to know something about the culture Jesus lived in and how he is using that culture to teach a lesson. If that is not the case, I have a “gouge” and a special bone saw to help remove that offending right eye and hand!