Tough Sayings of Jesus

Kile’s Blog – 7 Surprising Things Jesus Said

There is no real consensus on Jesus. It’s part of what makes Him interesting. Even when He was walking around doing ministry for three years, people had all sorts of things to say about Him. He surprised everyone by what He did, how He did it, and what He said. Even now – almost 2000 years later – His words still fascinate and challenge us in a way that inevitably forces us to choose a side: His way, or ours.

Having done a sermon series a while ago on the “The Crazy Sayings of Jesus” I wanted to take a second look at some of the things Jesus said that we probably wouldn’t put on a bumper sticker. If you’ve ever run into these in scripture, I hope this will help get you unstuck:

“I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” – Matthew 10:34
I know of no easier place to find division in our country than in our politics. Have you ever told someone your political affiliation and watched the look on their face change from friend to foe in .2 seconds? Choosing a side can have that effect. You’re either for or against.

Jesus brings this out in people. You can talk about God all day long, but mention Jesus and the discussion changes completely. He’s entirely too personal for most people’s comfort level. Like it or not, following Jesus will bring out some strong opinions, actions, and even some disowning from family members, friends, and colleagues. And to be clear, the sword is a metaphorical one – nowhere in scripture does Jesus advocate or even suggest violence.

“You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it for you. ” – John 14:14
I have asked for plenty of things in Jesus name and didn’t get them. It’s frustrating. Does this mean God’s promise is untrue, or that He’s a liar? Of course not! I believe part of the difficulty with this verse is determining what exactly what we should be asking for.

When our motivations are selfish or do not align with what God is already doing then it’s no wonder we don’t get what we ask for. I believe Jesus is asking us to follow Him so closely that we see what He’s up to and ask if we can take part in it. Then when we ask in His name, of course He will give it.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26
Jesus doesn’t want you to hate your family. In fact God describes our relationship to Him as adopted sons and daughters, so in a way, everyone who is a follower of Jesus is family. What He’s saying here is that our love for Jesus has to be so much greater than our love for our families and ourselves as to be on the opposite end of the spectrum.

We need to love God that much more. Practically this means that even if we did hate out family or even ourselves, our immense love for God would overcome what we might otherwise do or say.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” – Matthew 5:27
Have you ever heard someone use the phrase ‘it’s ok if I just look at the menu’? In our culture we’re pretty disconnected from what sex, passion, and intimacy actually look like. They’re all good things, given and blessed by God. The problem is we can distort them by reducing them to a feeling, a visual, or a moment. We always want what we don’t have.

Jesus makes it pretty clear when it comes to adultery- it’s not the sexual act, or even the visuals that are wrong, but the desire for something that isn’t ours. It’s the mentality of more. To be blunt, we don’t quote this one much because we like looking at ‘the menu’. We feel we can devour with our eyes, but paradoxically somehow still feel chaste.

“If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.” – Matthew 18:8
I don’t know about you but I like my foot. In fact both are pretty good. Without them I couln’t do most of the things I find enjoyment in. The problem is when that enjoyment overshadows what God is asking of us.

Jesus is essentially telling us that we are to discard anything that keeps us from following Him whole-heartedly. What’s your relationship with God worth to you? Most of us have things we’d give up for Jesus, but if we’re honest, there’s a few we would rather not part with. These may be the things that cut us off at the knees eventually.

“If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” – Mark 9:35
Weakness and service are high on God’s priority list. I’m not sure they register in our culture. The weak get trampled on and those who serve others are looked upon as nice people with little or no leadership, or no extracurricular life.

Jesus once again shows us how backwards our priorities are. We feel like if we’re at the top we’ll have everything we want – flexibility, prestige, financial security, etc. The point is not to get to the top – that’s God’s spot. Jesus is telling us that if we truly want it all, we must give it all away for others and for God. Only then can we receive everything God has for us.

“There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” —Luke 12:2
We all have moments we’re not proud of. And then there are those moments we want to bury deep down in a desert somewhere. They are the mistakes, terrible actions, or tremendous hurts that we don’t want the world to see under any circumstances.

This is the place where God does His best work. It’s the place that we often forget that is on full-display for God. Jesus seems to suggest however, that one day it will once again be viewable by ourselves and possibly even others. The Good News? We will have to give an account for these things some day – but we’re already forgiven for them.

What is the most difficult Bible verse you’ve ever read?