-- But He IS God!
There is a philosophy of this "age or world system". It is a "worldview" - an outlook, a mindset - or a habitual, unconscious way of looking at and/or thinking about things. It is originated, formulated and propagated by that "spiritual entity" that Christianity calls "Satan or Devil" -- whom the Bible says is the god of this "age or world system". It permeates the thinking of EVERY human being like water permeates a sponge. It colors our EVERY thought and action like a drop of dye colors a glass of water.
The Greek word "philosophia", from which we get our "philosophy" is used only once in the NT (Col. 2:8). In Thayers Bible Dictionary, it is defined as, "love of wisdom". Also, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, we get: "Philosophy is the study of reality, knowledge, and values, based on logical reasoning rather than observation. This includes general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, mind, and language. The word 'philosophy' comes from the Greek 'philosophia', which literally means "love of wisdom". It is the systematic defining and/or cataloging of knowledge and "wisdom".
My goal is ...... that they may have all the riches that assurance brings in their understanding of the knowledge of the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this so that no one will deceive you through arguments that sound reasonable. Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. **** Colossians 2:2-4,8
Even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing, among whom the god of this age (Satan) has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God. **** 2 Corinthians 4:3,4
Just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, (Grk. "and just as they did not approve to have God in knowledge") God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done. For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by (Grk. "think on" or "are intent on" [twice in this verse]. What is in view here is not primarily preoccupation, but worldview. Translations like "set their mind on" could be misunderstood by the typical English reader to refer exclusively to preoccupation.) the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit. For the outlook (Or "mindset, way of thinking" [twice in this verse and once in v. 7]. The Greek term does not refer to one's mind, but to one's outlook or mindset.) of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace, because the outlook of the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. *** Romans 1:28; 8:5-9
God also has a philosophy. It is the TOTAL antithesis (or opposite) of that of Satan and this world. Jesus Christ came that we might be delivered from the "philosophy (kingdom) of THIS world" into that of God. The spiritual battle that currently rages in this age and this world is to see which philosophy will prevail in the hearts and minds of those that God has created for His OWN pleasure. We are ALL automatically born into and under the dominion of the "kingdom" (rulership) of Satan and his philosophy. It is through accepting the work of Jesus Christ that we are liberated and "born again" into HIS Kingdom (rulership).
To those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength Now we do speak wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are perishing. Instead we speak the wisdom of God, hidden in a mystery, that God determined before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood it. If they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. **** 1 Corinthians 1:24,25; 2:6-8 **** Click Here: [ 1:17-2:16 ]
An outstanding example of the way the thinking of Jesus differed from the "thinking of the world system" (Satan - men) occurred during an encounter between Jesus and Peter. Jesus had just told His 12 disciples that His mission was going to end in His death. Now Peter had a deep love for his master, Jesus, and like many individuals would do, he expressed his deep loathing at the thought of this happening. Now you might expect as a response from Jesus something like, "Thank you for your expression of love and concern for me Peter. I know that it will be hard for you, and I will regret being separated from you too. However, it is what has to be done." Reading the verse below, however, we see that is NOT what happened. To the "worldly mind", the response of Jesus no doubt seems pretty cold and heartless!!
From that time on Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. So Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him: "God forbid, Lord! This must not happen to you!" But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, because you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but on man's." **** Matthew 16:21-23
The battle is for our MINDS (hearts) - for it is HERE that the WILL resides - and it is by our WILL, through the power of Jesus Christ, that we either enter into God's Kingdom or remain prisoners under Satan's dominion !!
Do not be conformed to this present world (to this age), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God -- what is good and well-pleasing and perfect. **** Romans 12:2
For though we live as human beings, we do not wage war according to human standards, for the weapons of our warfare are not human weapons, but are made powerful by God for tearing down strongholds (in the MIND). We tear down arguments and every arrogant obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ. **** 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
So I say this, and insist in the Lord, that you no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding, being alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts (minds). You were taught ...... to be renewed in the spirit of your mind. **** Ephesians 4:17,18,22,23
You were at one time strangers and enemies (to God) in your minds, as expressed through your evil deeds. **** Colossians 1:21
It is VITAL that we have a CORRECT image of God and of Jesus Christ in our mind, for it is FROM this image that we will be renewed. The image that we are transformed into will only be as accurate as the image that we hold in our mind.
You have put off the old man with its practices and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created it. **** Colossians 3:9,10
We all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image (that of Jesus Christ) from one degree of glory to another, which is from the Lord, who is the Spirit. **** 2 Corinthian 3:18
As I said, we have been brainwashed since birth by EVERYTHING (outside of God's kingdom) that we have come into contact with, that we might be conformed to Satan's philosophy. It is like "mother's milk" to us and it fits "just like our skin". We don't even notice it !! When we come into God's Kingdom (domain), we must undergo a COMPLETE "renewing of our mind". ALL of our old thought patterns and mental habits need to be either changed or done away with until we are governed by a NEW philosophy - a NEW way of thinking - in fact, until we have "the Mind of Christ" !!
This is accomplished in two ways.
One: God transforms our mental process as we spend SERIOUS time reading, studying and ABSORBING His Written Word, the Bible.
You study the scriptures thoroughly because you think in them you possess eternal life, and it is these same scriptures that testify about me, but you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life. **** John 5:39,40
The "sin drenched, Satan dominated" human mind will go to ANY length (no matter HOW farfetched and absurd) in an attempt to evade, avoid and/or discredit the REAL Jesus.
Can you imagine a "good, godly man" or a "great moral teacher" who would stand and publicly proclaim before the crowds that on that climatic day when, "ALL mankind shall stand before the Great Throne of Judgment to give an account for their lives", that they will NOT be judged for their deeds or their so-called "sins". NO, as a matter of fact, the sole issue by which their life will be judged will be "whether or not they had believed (put their faith and trust) in HIM ALONE" !!
The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. Now this is the basis for judging: that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God's wrath remains on him. Jesus replied,"You people are from below; I am from above. You people are from this world; I am not from this world. Thus I told you that you will die in your sins. For unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."When he (Holy Spirit) has come, he will convict the world about sin, about righteousness, and about judgment; [*] about sin, because they don't believe in me **** John 3:18,19,36; 8:23,24; 16:8,9 See also these verses in John.
[*] Note: Here (v. 9) the world is proven guilty concerning sin, and the reason given is their refusal to believe in Jesus. In v. 3:19, the effect of Jesus coming into the world as the "Light of the World" was to provoke judgment, by forcing people to choose up sides for or against him - and they chose darkness rather than light. In v. 12:37 in John's Gospel, at the very end of Jesus"public ministry, people were still refusing to believe in him.
He also claimed that He was (IS) the SOLE source of salvation and access to God (the Father) !!
So then they said to him,"What must we do to accomplish the deeds God requires?"Jesus replied,"This is the deed God requires" to believe in the one whom he sent."So Jesus said to them again, "I tell you the solemn truth, I am the door for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters through me, he will be saved, and will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand." Jesus replied, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you have known me, you will know my Father too. And from now on you do know him and have seen him." When Jesus had finished saying these things, he looked upward to heaven and said,"Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that your Son may glorify you" just as you have given him authority over all humanity, so that he may give eternal life to everyone you have given him. Now this is eternal life" that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent. I glorified you on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me at your side with the glory I had with you before the world was created. **** John 6:28,29; 10:7-10,28; 14:6,7; 17:1-4
NO -- as Lewis said, "Let us put all patronizing nonsense aside". Either Jesus was and IS "the Only Begotten, DIVINE Son of God", or he was a lunatic, a madman, or a demon !!!
Click [ Here ] to read an excellent excerpt from the book, "The Everlasting Man, Part 2 - Chapter 2 -- The Riddles of the Gospel", by G.K. Chesterton for a more indepth treatmeant of this concept.
He often went out of His way to say and to DO things that would shock and offend the "religious pillars" in an attempt to wake them out of their "institutional complacency and slumber of death". It was on account of these things that they eventually sought to (and, in fact, DID) murder Him !!
When He appeared at the synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth and read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, the scripture makes note in Luke 4:22 - All were speaking well of him, and were amazed at the gracious words coming out of his mouth. They said, "Isn't this Joseph's son?" Then it seems as if He DELIBERATELY went out of His way to offend and antagonize His hearers, to the result that it says in verses 28 and 29 - When they heard this, all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, forced him out of the town, and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. Read the full account [ Here ].
The following words by Jesus would certainly be predicated to get Him stoned by the Jews since, taken in one context, He is claiming to be the "I AM", Jehovah, the ONE God - most certainly blasphemy in the eyes of the Jews. As a matter of fact, THIS was the claim that DID eventually result in His crucifixion (murder).
All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son decides to reveal him. **** Matthew 11:27
If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. **** Mark 8:38
Now because Jesus was doing these things (healing the sick) on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began persecuting him. So he told them, "My Father is working until now, and I too am working." For this reason the Jewish leaders were trying even harder to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was also calling God his own Father, thus making himself equal with God. Thus I told you that you will die in your sins. For unless you believe that I am He (see note), you will die in your sins. Jesus said to them,"I tell you the solemn truth, before Abraham came into existence, I am. The Father and I are one." ! The Jewish leaders picked up rocks again to stone him to death. Jesus said to them,"I have shown you many good deeds from the Father. For which one of them are you going to stone me?"The Jewish leaders replied,"We are not going to stone you for a good deed but for blasphemy, because you, a man, are claiming to be God."Jesus answered, "Do you say about the one whom the Father set apart and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, I am the Son of God'?" **** John 5:16-18; 8:24,58; 10:30-33,36 **** Read the entire account in John 8:38-58
Note: Grk "unless you believe that I am." In this context there is an implied predicate nominative ("he") following the "I am" phrase. What Jesus' hearers had to acknowledge is that he was who he claimed to be, i.e., the Messiah (cf. 20:31). This view is also reflected in English translations like NIV ("if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be"), NLT ("unless you believe that I am who I say I am"), and CEV ("if you don't have faith in me for who I am"). For a different view that takes this "I am" and the one in 8:28 as nonpredicated (i.e., absolute), see R. E. Brown, John (AB), 1:533-38. Such a view refers sees the nonpredicated "I am" as a reference to the divine Name revealed in Exod 3:14, and is reflected in English translations like NAB ("if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins") and TEV ("you will die in your sins if you do not believe that 'I Am Who I Am'").
Often times, Jesus seemed to go out of his way to offend (or perhaps challenge) those caught in religious bigotry and/or hypocrisy - or perhaps to give them opportunity to stretch and/or broaden their level of faith or their "worldview". One such example was His REPEATED breaking of the Sabbath (in the eyes of the Jewish religious leaders) by healing people on it. At one time they angrily proclaimed, "There are SIX other days that you can be healed on" (Luke 13:14).
Another sterling example is as follows:
Then the Jews who were hostile to Jesus began to argue with one another, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" Jesus said to them, "I tell you the solemn truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. **** John 6:52-55 **** Click Here: [ 6:35-71 ]
Hopefully, as members of Christ's body and filled with His Spirit, we understand TODAY that He was speaking metaphorically as to taking HIS "Spiritual Life" into ourselves (LITERALLY, as in being born again by and FILLED with His Spirit). However, the Roman Catholic Organization DOES NOT understand it this way. They still think that when they partake of the bread and the wine, it is somehow mysteriously transformed into the LITERAL body and blood of Christ.
If such can be the case TODAY, can you imagine what Jews 2,000 years ago must have thought when they heard this man speak these words, particularly when their religion expressly forbade them eating meat with the blood still in it (the blood was to be poured out before God in a special way). Is it any wonder that many said, "THIS is a hard saying and ceased to follow Him !!
It is interesting to note the warped, "religious" caricature of Jesus Christ that the "church" has passed down as its legacy of Him versus that picture which is revealed in the scripture (Bible). Church walls are hung with sickening images of a Jesus who looks more like an anemic, blond haired young woman than the robust, Jewish carpenter and savior of mankind who walked miles over hot, rugged countryside and lived for weeks on end in the open air.
The following scriptures (the ONLY recorded dialog that we have concerning Jesus and His Mother) would seem to indicate that He viewed her in the same light that He would view ANY woman (or person) -- as one whom He came to redeem. He assigned her NO special or privileged position. At the cross, He referred to her using the generic term for "woman" - the same word that would be applied to ANY woman. He didn't even refer to her as "mother".
While Jesus was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and brothers came and stood outside, asking to speak to him. Someone told him, "Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside wanting to speak to you." To the one who had said this, Jesus replied, "Who is my mother and who are my brothers?" And pointing toward his disciples he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." **** Matthew 12:46-50
As he said these things, a woman in the crowd spoke out to him,"Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts at which you nursed!"But he replied,"Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!"**** Luke 11:27,28
Now on the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, When the wine ran out, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no wine left." Jesus replied, "Woman, why are you saying this to me (see note)? My time has not yet come." **** John 2:1-4
Note: Grk "Woman, what to me and to you?" (an idiom). The phrase (ti emoi kai soi, gunai) is Semitic in origin. The equivalent Hebrew expression in the Old Testament had two basic meanings: (1) When one person was unjustly bothering another, the injured party could say "What to me and to you?" meaning, "What have I done to you that you should do this to me?" (Judg 11:12, 2 Chr 35:21, 1 Kgs 17:18). (2) When someone was asked to get involved in a matter he felt was no business of his, he could say to the one asking him, "What to me and to you?" meaning, "That is your business, how am I involved?" (2 Kgs 3:13, Hos 14:8). Option (1) implies hostility, while option (2) implies merely disengagement. Mere disengagement is almost certainly to be understood here as better fitting the context (although some of the Greek Fathers took the remark as a rebuke to Mary, such a rebuke is unlikely).
Now standing beside Jesus' cross were his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. So when Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, "Woman, look, here is your son!" He then said to his disciple, "Look, here is your mother!" From that very time the disciple took her into his own home. **** John 19:25-27
Volumes are written about the "meek and mild Jesus", about the "bleeding heart of Jesus", about the "all suffering one" who never raised voice nor hand against anyone, and about the "good natured Santa Claus Jesus" dispersing good gifts to all with nary a word of correction or reproof. We hear preached (in His name) the message of "unity for all", of worldwide ecumenical accord, of God's supposed plan for all of mankind to live under one banner of love and togetherness -- all raising their voices in unison to tear rendering strains of "Cum bay ah".
Fortunately (UNfortunately for those addicted to religious fairy tales), this is most emphatically NOT the historical Jesus of the bible. It is rather the travesty of 2,000 years of "religious fairy tales", fables and, superstition. It is what the "church" has delivered after two millennia of corruption at the hand of mankind and the "god of this present world system".
God most certainly DOES envision a TOTALLY unified universe -- filled with the unity of ONE people (son's of God), functioning under ONE will (God's) and speaking with ONE voice -- but this will be AFTER the sin, selfishness and rebellion within man's heart has been removed. In the mean time, rather than promising earthly unity, He tells us:
"Enter through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. But the gate is narrow and the way is difficult that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of heaven -- only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day, many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?' Then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!' Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna." "Whoever, then, acknowledges me before people, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever denies me before people, I will deny him also before my Father 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, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man's enemies will be the members of his 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 up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life because of me will find it." **** Matthew 7:13-23; 10:28-39
Jesus made it VERY clear that He considered following Him to be a wholehearted experience. He wanted those who would give Him their ALL, would hold nothing back or put nothing before Him. He was (is) calling those who will follow Him no matter WHAT the cost might be !! He certainly made it very clear that His call was not going to be a, "What's in it for ME??" experience.
As they were walking along the road, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus said to him, "Foxes have dens and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." Jesus said to another, "Follow me." But he replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Yet another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say good-bye to my family." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God." Now large crowds were accompanying Jesus, and turning to them he said, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn't sit down first and compute the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish the tower, all who see it will begin to make fun of him. In the same way, therefore, not one of you can be my disciple if he does not renounce all his own possessions. Salt is good, but if salt loses its flavor, how can its flavor be restored? It is of no value for the soil or for the manure pile; it is to be thrown out. The one who has ears to hear had better listen!" **** Luke 9:57-62; 14:25-35
How often have you heard it taught that Jesus spoke (taught) in "Parables" in order to make it easier for His hearers to understand what He was saying. IF these "teachers" had actually paid attention to Jesus's OWN words, they would have noted that Jesus DELIBERATELY spoke in parables so that MANY (most ???) would NOT understand His messages. So much for "watering down the Gospel" so that EVERYONE can understand it !!
Then the disciples came to him and said, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" He replied, "You have been given the opportunity to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but they have not. For whoever has will be given more, and will have an abundance. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. For this reason I speak to them in parables: Although they see they do not see, and although they hear they do not hear nor do they understand. Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, "You have been given the opportunity to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that although they see they may not see, and although they hear they may not understand. **** Matthew 13:10-13; Luke 8:9
In our distorted "human (especially modern) thinking", we have come to conclude that because "Jesus is Love" that He is also soft and sentimental - that because He is humble He must also be retiring and self-effacing - since He is merciful that means that He will tolerate, accept and overlook EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. Scripture portrays a VERY different Jesus !! At times - led by the Holy Spirit - Jesus said some VERY harsh, strong, cutting, even insulting things and made some VERY strong demands upon those who would propose to follow Him.
Do not give what is holy to dogs or throw your pearls before pigs; otherwise they will trample them under their feet and turn around and tear you to pieces. **** Matthew 7:6
Now, whatever SPECIFIC interpretation you might like to attach to this verse, one thing is certain -- since neither "dogs" nor "pigs", as LITERAL animals, would be concerned with the Gospel, it needs follow that Jesus was using these terms in reference to certain types or groups of people !!
The term "dogs" is used in other scripture verses as reference to either those outside the scope of Jesus' ministry:
A Canaanite woman from that area came and cried out, "My daughter is horribly demon-possessed". Jesus answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs". **** Matthew 15:22-26
or else to reference those of EXTREMELY negative moral values: (Deut 23:18, Phil 3:2 and Rev 22:15). Click [ HERE ] to read.
The term "pearl(s)" is used to refer to the "Kingdom of Heaven".
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he found a pearl of great value, he went out and sold everything he had and bought it. **** Matthew 13:45,46
At its MINIMUM, verse 7:6 seems to be saying - CONTRARY to prevailing "Evangelical Christian" philosophy - NOT to ram the Gospel down the throat of EVERY person that you meet on EVERY circumstance or situation - regardless of whether the Holy Spirit has prepared that person to be receptive or not. Otherwise, they might, "turn around and tear you to pieces"!!
Also, contrary to what MANY Christians seem to believe, Jesus did NOT say it was OK for His followers to be childish (a BIG difference from being child-LIKE), slothful in worldly affairs (such as their handling of finances), or gullible (believe EVERYTHING that they are told, especially if it has a "christian flavor" to it).
I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. **** Matthew 10:16
The master commended the dishonest manager because he acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their contemporaries than the people of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by how you use worldly wealth, so that when it runs out you will be welcomed into the eternal homes. The one who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and the one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you haven't been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will entrust you with the true riches? And if you haven't been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you your own? **** Luke 16:8-12
Jesus made it VERY clear (in MANY places in the bible) that He most definitely was NOT "soft on sin". He told His hearers over and over that failure to repent of their sins would most assuredly meet with dire consequences.
Now there were some present on that occasion who told him (Jesus) about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. He answered them, "Do you think these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered these things? No, I tell you! But unless you repent, you will all perish as well! Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower in Siloam fell on them, do you think they were worse offenders than all the others who live in Jerusalem? No, I tell you! But unless you repent you will all perish as well!" **** Luke 13:1-5
After this Jesus found him at the temple and said to him,"Look, you have become well. Don't sin any more, lest anything worse happen to you."Jesus stood up straight and said to her,"Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?"She replied,"No one, Lord."And Jesus said,"I do not condemn you either. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.' **** John 5:14; 8:10,11
How many, claiming to applaud the "teachings of Jesus", would want to be held accountable for the FULL "Letter and Intent" of these words ??
You have heard that it was said to an older generation, "Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subjected to judgment." But I say to you that anyone who is angry with a brother will be subjected to judgment. You have heard that it was said, "Do not commit adultery." But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna. It was said, "Whoever divorces his wife must give her a legal document." But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman (or man) commits adultery. You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." But I say to you, do not resist the evildoer. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not reject the one who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don't they? And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don't they? So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. **** Matthew 5:21-48
He was seemingly (by OUR modern ideas) quite harsh and rude to a woman who came begging healing for her daughter. It would appear that His attitude was intended to reveal or bring forth the FULL level of her faith (v. 28).
A Canaanite woman from that area came and cried out, "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is horribly demon-possessed!" But he did not answer her a word. Then his disciples came and begged him, "Send her away, because she keeps on crying out after us." So he answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and bowed down before him and said, "Lord, help me!" "It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs," he said. "Yes, Lord," she replied, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered her, "Woman, your faith is great! Let what you want be done for you." And her daughter was healed from that hour. **** Matthew 15:22-28
People today - ESPECIALLY the younger generation - are OBSESSED with the idea that life OWES them a living. They believe that someone or something - be it Life, Society, their Family, the Government or "god" (in some form) is responsible to take care of and provide for them (often without ANY contribution or effort on THEIR part) merely by virtue of the fact that they exist, occupy space and consume resources on this planet !!
Even among so-called "Christians", if they should suffer loss, misfortune or mishap - or if some event or aspect of life "fails" them or doesn't turn out as they believe (expect) that it should - are right there rejecting, reviling, renouncing or cursing God because (in THEIR mind) He failed them or let them down !! How many 'Christians" do you know personally, or have heard of, who have rejected or deserted God due to an unexpected disappointment, downturn, or tragedy in their life ??
Worse yet - many believe that "serving" God is like putting money into a retirement fund or bank account for a rainy day. They feel that, by so doing, they have put God Himself under obligation to THEM, and that He now "OWES THEM" when they feel that the time has come to collect. Like the group in the paragraph above, they too are outraged when He "fails to pay-up" !!
Yet, if these same people would have read their Bibles CAREFULLY and PRAYERFULLY - and encountered the "REAL Jesus" there (and NOT the one of popular superstition and religion) - they would have discovered THESE words:
Would any one of you say to your slave who comes in from the field after plowing or shepherding sheep, "Come at once and sit down for a meal?" Won't the master instead say to him, "Get my dinner ready, and make yourself ready to serve me while I eat and drink. Then you may eat and drink?" He won't thank the slave because he did what he was told, will he? So you too, when you have done everything you were commanded to do, should say, "We are slaves undeserving of special praise; we have only done what was our duty." **** Luke 17:7-10
He got impatient with people's lack of faith and failure to comprehend who and what He was.
Peter said to him, "Lord, if it is you, order me to come to you on the water." So he said, "Come." Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind he became afraid. And starting to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" When they came to the crowd, a man came to him, knelt before him, and said, "Lord, have mercy on my son, because he has seizures and suffers terribly, for he often falls into the fire and into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they were not able to heal him." Jesus answered, "You unbelieving and perverse generation! How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I endure you? Bring him here to me." Then Jesus rebuked the demon and it came out of him, and the boy was healed from that moment. *** Matthew 14:28-31; 17:14-18
There are some accounts of Jesus' behavior that certain individuals absolutely REFUSE to accept as legitimate, preferring to believe that THEIR Jesus could never do or say such things. Their mind is absolutely closed to the possibility that Jesus could ever raise His voice, that He could be angry or frustrated, or that (heaven forbid) He might engage in acts of physical violence. They will go to ANY length in order to disassociate Him from such verses.
One example is Matthew 23, labeled in some bibles "The Seven Woes". Here Jesus engages in the most severe denunciation that could be envisioned against the Scribes and the Pharisees, repeatedly calling them "empty-whitewashed tombs full of dead man's bones, snakes, hypocrites and liars - filled with all manner of greed and self-serving lusts" (amoung other things).
Another would be when Jesus drove the money changers out of the temple, as recounted in three of the Gospels (considered by some to be two seperate instances):
After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there a few days. Now the Jewish feast of Passover was near, so Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple courts those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers sitting at tables. So he made a whip of cords and drove them all out of the temple courts, with the sheep and the oxen. He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold the doves he said, "Take these things away from here! Do not make my Father's house a marketplace!" His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will devour me." **** John 2:12-17 (Matthew 21:12,13; Mark 11:15-18)
Finally, we come to Jesus' treatment of Judas. Yes, for whatever his reasons, Judas committed a horrific act of betrayal. However, scripture makes it clear that Jesus choose Judas SPECIFICALLY so that he could carry out this foul deed. Jesus knew that it was going to happen and when it was going to happen. When the time finally arrived, rather than try to dissuade Judas from his chosen path, Jesus instead tells him, "What you are going to do, get on with it and get it over with" !!
It is rather like God's dealing with Pharaoh, where we are told that God SPECIFICALLY choose Pharaoh and orchestrated the entire incident so that He (God) might reveal His "Power and Glory" to the Israelites and to the rest of the world.
For the scripture says to Pharaoh: "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may demonstrate my power in you, and that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth." **** Romans 9:17
Jesus replied, "The one who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not every one of you." (For Jesus knew the one who was going to betray him. For this reason he said, "Not every one of you is clean.") "What I am saying does not refer to all of you. I know the ones I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture, 'The one who eats my bread has turned against me.' I am telling you this now, before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I am he. When he had said these things, Jesus was greatly distressed in spirit, and testified, "I tell you the solemn truth, one of you will betray me." Then the disciple whom Jesus loved leaned back against Jesus' chest and asked him, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus replied, "It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread after I have dipped it in the dish." Then he dipped the piece of bread in the dish and gave it to Judas Iscariot, Simon's son. And after Judas took the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, "What you are about to do, do quickly." (Now none of those present at the table understood why Jesus said this to Judas). **** John 13:10-28
Click [ HERE ] to read an excellent account regarding Judas.
EXACTLY who Jesus was (IS), why He came, and the nature of His Purpose and Mission was made VERY clear by Jesus Himself.
He didn't come to usher in a new social order, or to repair the problems and inequities in our present society, or to be some new teacher of an "earthly Utopia" !! While He DID relieve a certain degree of oppression and suffering while He was here, He made it clear that His Mission was to reveal the Heart and Nature of His and OUR Father -- to forgive SIN and to dispense "Eternal Life" (really "life of the Ages")
So that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. When Jesus heard this he said, "Those who are healthy don't need a physician, but those who are sick do. Go and learn what this saying means: 'I want mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. **** Matthew 9:6,12,13;20:28
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." **** Luke 4:18,19
For this is the will of my Father --- for everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him to have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." Jesus said to them, "I tell you the solemn truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. Thus I told you that you will die in your sins. For unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins." My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them from my Father's hand. The Father and I are one." Jesus replied, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you have known me, you will know my Father too. And from now on you do know him and have seen him." When Jesus had finished saying these things, he looked upward to heaven and said, "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that your Son may glorify you --- just as you have given him authority over all humanity, so that he may give eternal life to everyone you have given him. Now this is eternal life --- that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world --- to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." **** John 6:40,53,54; 8:24; 10:27-30; 14:6,7; 17:1-3; 18:37,38 **** Read [ John 5:19-45 ] and **** (All John 17)
He also revealed to the world a NEW definition of God the Father and of His Love. God did NOT send another teacher or Prophet, or even an Angel, to proclaim the nature of His care for His earthly creation, nor did He inaugurate a new church program to conduct classes and teach about and/or reveal it. This He had already done for OVER 2,000 years with VERY limited success and/or results.
NO, this time He dispatched "His One and ONLY Son" to be the "living enactment, message and testimony" of that love!!
It is also interesting to note that He says that mankind will NOT be judged ultimately upon their "sins" (Sin), but rather solely upon whether or not he/she has, "believed in the name of the one and only Son of God". For those who choose NOT to believe, judgment (condemnation) does NOT await them in the future, but already rests upon them TODAY !!!
For this is the way (in THIS way) God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. Now this is the basis for judging: that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God's wrath remains on him. Jesus said,"For judgment I have come into this world, so that those who do not see may gain their sight, and the ones who see may become blind."Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and asked him,"We are not blind too, are we?"Jesus replied,"If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin, but now because you claim that you can see, your guilt remains."**** John 3:16-19,36; 9:39-41