Posts Tagged ‘ Hard ’

Too Edgy

I am doing a short series! We are going through some of the sayings of Jesus that can be … confusing … difficult … misapplied … whatever!

What does this mean? I will look at passages that I have personally heard misapplied, misunderstood, or simply confusion expressed over what Jesus meant.

Three weeks we looked at blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

Two weeks ago we looked at Jesus saying Christians should be perfect.

One of these appeared on The Domain for Truth to help out SlimJim with some coverage of his blog while he travels. (No judging me, now. I shared it here on this blog!)

Now, what is our next passage? (Maybe you already have an idea based on the title.)

Two swords? What about peace?

And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”
Luke 22:35-38, ESV

Okay. What’s up here? Was it not Jesus who said we should avoid violence, turning the other cheek and whatnot?

Perhaps now you see why some people struggle with understanding the Bible. Maybe you are one of those people.

What was Mr. Peace-Nick Godman getting at?

Firstly, let us remember Jesus’ own words:

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Matthew 10:34

It would be very easy to take this out of context, so how about we take a look at that context to understand better what Jesus meant about bringing a sword:

“So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Matthew 10:32-39, ESV

So, we know that Jesus will divide families, friends, and communities, but this is definitely a figurative sword. We are to love God so much that it is as of we hate our family and friends in comparison. (But we love them all the more through God’s love!)

Perhaps we need to keep in mind that we are to defend the weak and defenseless. This is perhaps the most applicable literal sense of having a sword. Sure, self-defense may be a part of it, too, but probably defending others is more accurate.

We also need to consider the other meaning Jesus may have had:

and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
Ephesians 6:17

We know that the Word of God is often referenced as a sword (Hebrews 4:12; Revelation 1:16, 2:12, 19:15), so this definitely far from being outside of the realm of possibility.

However, we also must remember what He said in Luke 22:37 above, that the scripture must be fulfilled that He was numbered with the transgressors.

Obviously, this points to being hung on a cross between two criminals, but I offer one other possibility (from Jesus’ arrest):

And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the servant[h] of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
Luke 22:49-53, ESV

You can probably imagine the Apostles’ thoughts: “He said have swords, so now that He is about to be arrested, is this the time He finally overthrows the leaders and takes control?”

But Jesus also hints that at this moment it appears He is already being considered counted among transgressors, as a conquering king raising an insurrection. It is made more likely an assertion with Peter striking Malchus’ ear off. (See John 18:10)

I would even argue that all of these are the reasons Jesus said to get a sword to the Twelve (well … Eleven).

Jesus must be numbered as one guilty of raising a rebellion.

But for us …

Defend the weak and powerless.

Be prepared to share the Word of God.

Be prepared to be numbered with Jesus.

VerseD: Colossians 3:23-24

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
Colossians 3:23‭-‬24, ESV

Work is hard.

Nobody at church gets along or understands.

The kids (or parents) will not listen.

Nobody plays fair.

The government is corrupt.

You are not trying to please them or work for them!

You serve Christ. Reflect Him, not your world.

VerseD: Romans 8:26

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Romans 8:26, ESV

When life is so hard, so scary, and so wearying that we barely know how to think straight, God helps us talk with Him.

If you find it hard to pray, either sit quietly, inviting Him to speak, or let it all out at Him. He can take it. He will help you.

Play-Doh Heart

Find solid wisdom through the thoughts at Proverbial Thought!

There are some things in this world that are rock solid and others that are softer, more pliable.

Something that should never be seen as pliable is Truth. While some things may not be black and white, set in stone (such as one person thinking the weather is beautiful while another thinks it is horrible) most truths are firm (such as the weather is overcast and rainy).

One truth that is never negotiable, no matter how much someone may want it to be, is that God is real and sovereign, and Jesus Christ is His Son who died for the sins of the world.

On the other hand, there are some things that are just better the softer they are: some cookies and cake, gelatin (without being melted, of course), your seat on an airplane, water after you have been pushed from the side of the pool, Play-Doh, and on and on.

Something that should always be pliable is your heart and mind. While you hold firm to certain truths, you should always be willing to always learn, always love, and always seeking after truth. Just as Play-Doh is soft, pliable, and even fun to shape and mold, so must our hearts be in this world of pain, injustice, and competing attentions.

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
1 Peter 3:8

Here is the thing: you must entrust your Play-Doh heart to the Rock of Salvation. Only in His hands can it be properly and lovingly formed for the greatest good.

Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind.
Psalm 26:2

On our own, we will only have some fun, waste some time, and forget to put the lid back on at the end of the day. Then our Play-Doh hearts become hard. In hardness they either become brittle or useless … or both.

1 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
    let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
    let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the Lord is a great God,
    and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth;
    the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
    let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
7 For he is our God,
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    and the sheep of his hand.
Today, if you hear his voice,
8     do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
    as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 when your fathers put me to the test
    and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10 For forty years I loathed that generation
    and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,
    and they have not known my ways.”
11 Therefore I swore in my wrath,
    “They shall not enter my rest.”

Psalm 95, ESV