Did He just say what I think He said?!?
There’s valuable insight I’m learning from Jesus these last 15 months in the Gospels. I know I’ve read through the Bible many times now but I’m still seeing Jesus in new ways. My goal when I started this leisurely pace through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John was to get to know Christ better.
One of the surprises thus far is how politically (as well as culturally/socially) incorrect Jesus was in His day. If He could step on some touchy toes, it seems He did. He did not back down from a fight worth having for the right reasons. It didn’t matter who they were, if that person erred from the original intent of God’s Word, character, or plan, He was sure to confront the falsehood.
Jesus was not what we would call “politically correct” but it was with the intention of being “Biblically correct”. What I have learned is that both matter eternally. Parsing our words so as not to ruffle any feathers has eternal ramifications just as saying too much at times.
In Luke 11:27-54 , He confronts, for the sake of CORRECTING, on no less than 7 times by my count. At every turn in this passage, Christ sought to deal with falsehood head-on.
What that teaches me is that it not only matters what we stand for but what we stand against!Keeping silent when we should speak up is just as destructive as speaking the falsehood itself. Click To Tweet
Jesus, Our Fearless Leader
Make no mistake, Jesus was VERY intolerant at times and it usually dealt with the distortion of Truth. Whereas He was tolerant of sinners in need of a Savior, He was adamantly opposed to religious hypocrisy or Biblical distortion. He wasn’t going to provoke the ire of others without a good reason. At the same time, He did not shy away from calling people out that needed to be corrected in their perspective or behavior.
He did not come down as the Son of Man to condone religious leaders misrepresenting God to the Jewish nation. This makes me realize the responsibility we have to confront falsehood in our day. Although confrontation is rarely taught in pulpits, it should be. If Jesus believed it necessary to confront falsehood then so should we.
When we passively turn a blind eye to what is falsely represented as truth then we are not only unbiblical but unchristlike.
When we turn a blind eye or deaf ear to what is falsely represented as “Truth” then we are not only unbiblical, we are unchristlike.
Some denominations are more prone to let falsehood go unchecked just as some geographical regions are as well. Having been raised in the south, I know how confrontation is frowned upon. We are taught to “be nice” even when we should be speaking up. I truly believe we will be held accountable by God for those moments (whether as individuals or as a nation) that we kept our mouth shut when we should’ve been bolder. It matters greatly that we speak up for what is right AND against what is wrong.
Just as we learn from Revelation 2:19-20 where Jesus is telling the Church of Thyatira that what they are “tolerating” is being counted against them. He rebukes them for their silence regarding falsehood.
19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.
Jesus was in a long line of those God sent to keep the people on a path that was reflective of His commands. This type of person is referred to as a “prophet”. I once heard a definition that made it clear to me the distinction between a prophet and a priest. A prophet represents God to the people and a priest represents the people to God. Jesus was the greatest prophet AND priest in His role as Messiah.
Jesus, Confronting for the Sake of Correction
In the passage of Luke 11:27-54, I count seven times He makes the choice to set the record straight as it pertained to various people, some who were powerful church leaders and others who were part of the crowds following Him.
1. Jesus makes it clear that His mother Mary was not to be regarded any greater than those who hear the Word and obey it.
As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”
He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:27-28
This reference to His mother echoes similar perspective given earlier by Jesus in Luke 8:19-21.
Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. 20 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”
21 He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”
Given that Jesus, the Son of God, is the One giving clear teaching regarding His mother, it leaves no doubt that He was confronting the tendency of man toward idolatry. Christ specifically sets the boundary for Truth here. Mary should not be exalted higher than any other human who obeys God’s Word and by no means should she be prayed to for the sake of intercession. She is one of many God used mightily in His story and her story should never cross the boundary into falsehood.
2. Jesus identifies and calls out those following Him for the wrong reasons.
As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. Luke 11:29
Not what one would expect of someone trying to gain a following (or a platform) but then again, Jesus was a-typical much of the time from our human perspective. Truth mattered more to Him than giving a false sense of peace. He would rather have fewer people following Him for the right, genuine reasons than a large crowd trying to satisfy their selfish motives.
That moment had to be shocking as the crowd swelled in numbers and then Jesus turns around with a declaration of judgment against them. What courage that took! What humility that took!!
Oh, what a Savior we have!!
Even in His “politically correct” cultural climate, He knew taking a stand against spiritual manipulation for the sake of personal gain would be costly. But He was willing to pay the price for the integrity of “Biblical correctness”.
How many of us are willing to take that stand in our day? Are we willing to have fewer followers/friends rather than condone falsehood as truth? It is a slippery slope when we try to get along at the expense of the integrity of what God clearly states in His Bible.
Jesus shows us that Truth without any offense is probably not the Gospel He declared nor felt bold enough to protect.Jesus shows us that Truth without any offense is probably not the Gospel He declared nor felt bold enough to protect. Click To Tweet
I know this temptation as I feel the tension to “soften” Biblical truths that conflict with our current culture. Yet, who am I to say that God didn’t mean what He said? There are only two choices- belief or unbelief. My eternal place isn’t worth attempts of appeasing man.
Come back for my next post for the rest of Jesus’ confrontations!