“When many of his disciples heard it, they said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?’ But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, ‘Do you take offense at this?’” (John 6:60-63, ESV)
Jesus was not a social media mogul. He was not a celebrity who believed that any publicity was good publicity. The words He said were never spoken with the intent of drawing attention to Himself. He was not a “shock-jock,” seeking attention by saying outlandish things.
Rather, He chose his words carefully. Every syllable He spoke was intentional. Whether He was addressing huge crowds or a single individual He crafted each one as if He were creating a piece of fine furniture, skillfully joining piece to piece. His words were not fancy and ornate, but solid and made to stand up against the passage of time.
But Jesus did say some things that are simply hard to hear. And while those sayings were difficult to hear in His day, they are even harder for us to hear in our 21st-Century, Western, first-world, technological lives. We tend to interpret the scriptures in light of our modern worldview instead of shaping our worldview in light of the scriptures.
We tend to gloss over the hard sayings of scripture, reading them quickly if at all. We don’t want to dwell on them because our comfortable ignorance might be shattered, like waking from a bad dream.
There are more people who call themselves “Christian” in the world now than at any other time in history. This is in large part because we have made it so easy to become Christians. We promote an easy cross, a convenient Christianity, where Jesus serves us instead of us serving Him.
Lately I have been struggling with, wrestling with, some of Jesus’ hard sayings. At present I am looking at the implications of what it means to be a “servant of all” (Mark 9:35). I am trying to shift my paradigm from me-centric to other-centric. It’s not an easy thing to do.
As mindful disciples, we need to be willing to give ourselves to the “hard sayings” and the scriptures that call us to a deeper Christianity. After spending some time in a “denomination” that tends toward legalism I pulled away, keeping a “safe distance” from it. And while the dangers of legalism are every bit as bad as the dangers of the other extreme, I find that I at least made an effort—whether from right or wrong motivation.
I’m going to continue to wrestle with the difficult scriptures and the hard sayings of Christ. As I do, I will be blogging about them, and my experiences with them. I hope that you will join me as I dig a little deeper in the soil of faith.
Blessings on your week!
Image by Goumbik from Pixabay