Skip to main content

Jesus words


"Because of [the controversial things Jesus was saying] many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, 'Do you also wish to go away?' Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." - John 6:66-69

The passage above is a key moment in the ministry of Jesus. It is also a key moment in the life of Peter and the other twelve disciples. The context is that Jesus has already begun his public ministry. He has already called the twelve disciples. Furthermore, hordes of people have also fallen in line with Jesus as he travels about Galilee doing the work God the Father sent him to do. In many instances, Jesus has worked miracles. He has brought healing where there was sickness, sight to eyes that were blind, and hope to hearts that were crushed. It is natural, then, that so many are now falling in behind him - following him in hopes that Jesus might be a savior, someone who can fix their lives.

But in the midst of all this surging hope and promise, Jesus begins to say some things that are difficult to understand. Jesus speaks in such a way that jolts the mind and the heart. And many in the great crowds begin to turn back for home. The enthusiasm and promises of falling Jesus begin to fade and reality has begun to set in: Jesus has come as Savior of the whole world, but he has also come as the great Redeemer. He has come to refashion and reform hearts and minds. And Jesus' words - his commands, his teachings, his instructions - are the only words that we have, the only Word that can operate and heal and transform us.

The commands and instructions that Jesus has for us are not always easy to understand, apply, or follow. But, Peter in this case is right on: with Jesus are the words of eternal life. Strange though they may be, these are the words that can and do lead to our redemption. These are the words and teachings that lead us to the deepest pools of joy and peace that we desire (John 15:9-11). His commands - although seemingly difficult or extreme - are, in fact, easy and the blessed way.

I mention all of this because this all applies to the Sermon on the Mount and our reading of it. Just as many began to depart from Jesus when he opened his mouth in the sixth chapter of John, so many of us began to depart from Jesus when he moves into his commands in Matthew 5:17-49. We like the Beatitudes, just as there were many who loved the miraculous, generous grace and power Jesus showed to the poor and broken. Yet, for all of us who long to walk with Jesus, there comes a time when Jesus asks us, "Do you also wish to go away?" He doesn't ask it in a condemning or harsh manner. Just quietly and respectfully and as someone who loves us deeply, he asks us. Jesus does not force us down the road of being his disciple. Jesus leaves us the option to decide, to determine if we're ready to take on his yoke - to learn from his teachings, to experience his gracious patience with us as he reworks our hearts and minds. Though our transformation may not all seem like much fun, and while it will often go against our natural tendencies, Jesus' instructions and work upon our life is refreshing and healing.

~Wes

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Acts 5:1-11 - Questions for reflection & prayer

This past Sunday we looked at one of the more unsettling stories in the Book of Acts:  the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira.  As shared by Luke, this couple sold a piece of land and then proceeded to bring only a portion of the profit to the apostles - laying it at their feet for the good of the community.  However, what appeared to be their grave mistake (pun intended) was their collusion in claiming to have brought all the proceeds to the apostles when - in fact - they were keeping some back for themselves.  Peter announces first to Ananias the Lord's judgment, followed by a similar verdict being handed down to Sapphira a short time later.

Seen by itself, this is a strange story, but it begins to make more sense when we see it as "part of the whole."  The story of Ananias and Sapphira comes right after we hear once again of the community's unity and generosity, including their willingness to share their own goods and resources to take care of one another (ch. 4).  Th…

Acts 6:1-6 - Questions for reflection & prayer

As the Holy Spirit empowers the Christian community, new life emerges and new members are added.  This is a beautiful thing, and it is extremely important to point out that this is God's doing.  God is initiating diversity within the Christian community.  However, this also creates new tensions and new challenges.

Acts 6:1-6 gives us our first glimpse of a tension that will extend all the way to chapter 15, until the leaders of the early Church come up with a way to address the growing differences within the Christian family.  Some feel that they are being left out and that others are getting preferential treatment.  The Hellenized Christians feel they are getting the short end of the stick.

All of this is extremely relevant to thoughts and feelings occurring in our own day and age.  Across the spectrum, a majority of Americans feel like they face some form of discrimination.  But, it also points to an ongoing challenge we all face from time to time, the challenges that arise when…

Life in Greencastle: That Greatest Architect

God's peace to all of you on this beautiful Saturday afternoon.  I hope you are enjoying the warm sunshine.  Perhaps you are even still enjoying one last sunset at the beach.
We stayed fairly close to home this Spring Break, taking two short trips, including one to Turkey Run State Park and the other to Columbus, Indiana.  Anna and I had been longing to go to Columbus for quite some time.  Back in the day, we became friends with Emily and Manish Desai in our small apartment complex in Pasadena, both of whom had recently graduated with degrees in architecture from Cal Poly.  Manish would go on to earn his license in architecture and has designed a number of really beautiful spaces, including private residences but also a church out in the desert for a Native American tribe.  Anna and I have always appreciated Manish and Emily's aesthetic, which is why we knew to take note when they started telling us about Columbus, Indaina a number of years ago.  They didn't know much abo…