Wednesday, September 22, 2004

JESUS TAUGHT WHAT PEOPLE WANTED TO HEAR

Without trying to sound controversial, Jesus gave people what they wanted. If they wanted the truth, they got it. If they didn't want the truth, they found foolishness. Don't misunderstand, Jesus' message was and is for everyone, so He isn't trying to alienate people. It is just that His message divides in the way that a winnowers fork seperates the wheat from the chaff. It's like when a counselor gives a client a piece of advice: if he rejects it it's because it is nonsense or unreasonable; if he accepts it it's because it is practical and attainable. The same message with two different results depending on the inclination of the client.

The sincere person would understand Jesus' message. His disciples once came to Him and asked, "why do you speak to them in parables" (Mt. 13:10)? The disciples knew the difficulty of understanding Jesus' message because they sometimes failed to understand the meaning. Jesus spoke the same message to everyone. The difference between the disciples who believed and the naysayers who rejected was that some wanted the truth and some did not. To the disciples who asked Him to explain, He did. Others walked away scratching their head. Jesus' message in parable form was delivered in such a way as to give an exit or easy way out to the insincere. Jesus said of those who rejected His teaching in parables, "...while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand" (Mt. 13:13). Verse 15 tells why: "For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them" (KJV). If they would open their eyes and clean their ears out, they would hear just fine and be saved. Jesus' critics were inclined to reject truth because vermon don't like the light of truth. They operate best in the dark, not in the light of day where others can see their deeds. If they wanted, they could just open their ears and eyes and God would bless them.

For some, truth is hard to accept. Jesus spoke the undiluted truth and some people loved it and some people hated it--and they hated Him for it. The Scribes and Pharisees knew exactly what He meant when he called them hypocrites (Mt. 23). They reacted by covering their ears, so to speak, and started plotting how they would silence (kill) Him. On the other hand, Jesus' message was just as hard for those who wanted the truth. It doesn't get much harder than being told to leave all your possessions, completely deny yourself, and take up your own instrument of death--a cross-and follow Me (Lk. 9:23). Many people accepted it because they wanted the truth.

In our Bible class tonight, we were reading where Paul said of those who are saved and of those who are perishing: "To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life." Paul's message and ministry was the same for all people, but to some people the message was the aroma of life and to some the aroma of death (2 Cor. 2:16; cf. 1 Cor. 1:23,24): two opposite views of the Gospel. If a person is rebelliously inclined, the Gospel will be repulsive. If a person is inclined to listen, the Gospel will be a blessing. People who are open and honest see Jesus as the power and wisdom of God, but a worldly man sees a reason to reject it. Such is the wisdom of God's plan to save through the cross: if a man is seeking wisdom, that's what he finds; but if he wants to find foolishness, that's what he finds. How about you, why don't you try it? If you seek the truth concerning eternal life, you will find it. However, if you come to the Bible with prejudice, then your prejudices will be confirmed and you will walk away unimpressed. Open your Bible today and you'll find exactly what you are looking for.
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Check out Eternal life is for the obedient

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