Friday, January 30, 2015

The hard sayings of the Lord Jesus

The teachings of the Lord Jesus in the Gospel by Luke are  quite embarrassing for the average Christian. Rather than avoid them, we do well to ponder them often.

    In chapter 11 the Lord denounces hypocrisy.
     In chapter 12.9 “If anyone denies Me here on earth, I will deny that person before God’s angels”. He calls the disciple to unashamed commitment to God and Himself, and this being accompanied with simple dependence upon God for all things. He does not promise present rewards, but anticipates the blessedness of being ready for the return of the Son of man. Indeed the words are ‘wisdom teachings’ and to us Gentile believers, some of the expectations of the Master seem unreasonable e.g “sell your possessions and give to the poor” . Another – “  Do you think that I have come to give peace on the earth? No, I tell you rather division.”  Statements like this can be given a contextual interpretation, however I think we should let the general thrust of them ‘wash us clean’ from the culture in which we live. Often our culture is one of self centred greed and peace at any price.

       Dr Luke presents in this Gospel, the strong moral teaching (some might call it philosophical teaching) of the Lord Jesus.   Matthew concentrates on the Kingdom teaching. Luke’s presentation reaches deep  into the conscience, the character and behaviour of the disciple.  It is obvious why the Lord Jesus became unpopular with the leading men of His day.
       It would have been interesting to  know more about Luke the author, who though a doctor, followed along with Paul in keeping with this teaching. It would appear he did indeed ‘pay the price’ of discipleship.

         The effect on myself is this – ‘how small I am in the light of such teaching!  How little faith I really have! How quickly the demands of this world take over! How uncommitted I am to the path of true discipleship !

          I conclude with another one of those seemingly hard sayings – “So no one can become my disciple without giving up everything for Me” (Luke 14.33)
Let me suggest a different perspective – objective rather than subjective -  who is this one making such extreme demands of His followers ????? A mere rabbi?  An important prophet? 

This is the Son of God who in Himself trod this path before He asked anyone else to follow. The one “who was rich, yet for your sakes became poor” (2 Corinthians 8) . Luke presents the man in who God finds perfect delight, and we do well to ponder often the one of whom the Father said  “in Him I am well pleased.”

John McKee

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