I posted a question on Facebook yesterday, “What is your favorite book in the Bible?” I was interested in hearing what others would say was their favorite book. What astonished me was that no one said any of the four gospels or the book of Acts. I have to admit, even I said Ephesians. As I looked over the list, I remembered a great conversation I had with a pastor friend of mind a few months back. We talked about how radical Jesus really was during his time, and how he would probably be considered just as radical now.
Let’s face the facts; do you really understand some of his parables? In some of his statements He sounds like a complete madman. Here are just a couple:
“I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you”
“The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”
“The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is, because the kingdom of God is within you”
“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it”
Let’s face it, Jesus is hard to understand. Leave the herd to go back and get one sheep? Are you kidding? That one sheep isn’t worth sacrificing the herd. We just want someone to tell us how to live so our lives can be considered successful. Everything we are taught in business, education and for the most part in our churches seems to contradict what he teaches; in these arenas the majority dictates the law, even Paul does this in his writings. We look to Paul to tell us the difference between right and wrong, but Jesus says just live. If you are mine, I live in you, and you already know the difference, “my sheep hear my voice”. The Old Testament is mostly stories of how people lived or didn’t live under the Mosaic Law with the exception of Psalms and Proverbs, but for some reason we love the books of the Old Testament better. Why? We all love music (Psalms) and wisdom (Proverbs) when we hear it, that is understandable, but what about this Jesus character?
The problem with most of us (me included) is that we would much rather live under the law than with the freedom of Jesus Christ. We can play the mindless existence game if someone is telling me what to do. The cost of his kind of freedom is you will be crucified. We all want to be liked, admired and loved; we don’t want people to think we are radicals. To follow him really does mean you will give up everything.
Would you give up everything you have to follow a madman?