The picture that people have of Jesus is usually conjured up in the passive areas of the mind. You know what I mean –Gentle Jesus meek and mild; Jesus the peacemaker; the middle of the road man who always saw the best in every argument and person and was always pouring oil on the troubled waters of life. In general a soft expression of a God who demanded little and was easily manipulated, wonderfully forgiving and allowing people to do it their way!
The text of the Bible brings a correcting balance. Jesus was a straight talking, truth telling man who opposed the hypocrisies of religious leaders and the carelessness of Godless living. The language he used was blunt and clear to the point of being offensive. He never compromised his message allowing people who thought they were disciples depart from him knowing that they weren’t!
However he moved with ease around ordinary people forgiving easily and allowing repentance from sinful activities and beliefs. He called people from self-righteous living patterns that kept God a comfortable distance away to live a life of faith that placed Christ at the centre of everything they did. In Luke’s gospel, chapter 14 and verse 25 Jesus used disturbing words telling people that he must come before everyone and everything else in their lives and if they refused his terms they could not be a disciple. This is a very radical expression of what a Christian is and yet it is the teaching of the Master. Jesus will never be satisfied being a religious tag on the garment of our own egocentric lives.
He must be in the centre of our thinking and actions. God is not room service but a Sovereign majestic being we are commanded to worship and serve. Jesus is a wonderful Saviour who offers forgiveness of sins as a free gift and newness of life but it is a critical mistake to think that the preciseness of his words doesn’t matter! Read the passage yourself and think about the implications of being a true follower of Christ Jesus.
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
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Newry Baptist Church
31-33 Lower Catherine Street