By Stan Butler
More often than not, when we think of Jesus, we picture Him as a kind and gentle man who never sinned and is the perfect example to mold ourselves after when expressing love and feelings to others. In all of His dealings with fellow man while dwelling among us, we know that when He spoke, His words were always the truth. His disciple John describes Jesus as being, “full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) Jesus describes Himself as “the truth” in John 14:6.
Now, knowing the descriptive attributes of Jesus listed afore, would it surprise you to hear that there are those in the religious world today who would consider Jesus at times not to be so full of grace, maybe even unkind at times? Rest assured that this author and I use that term very loosely believes Jesus never spoke a word or ever overstepped any boundary via His actions on any occasion that would be considered unkind. Allow me to mention a few of the occasions which Jesus’ actions come into question by some contemporaries and add just a small commentary of my own.
Ever wonder what His reaction would be if this December He were to visit the church you attend and witness the decorated Christmas trees and lights strung every where? Be honest, are these pagan totems being placed in His house for His sake and to enhance worship to a Holy and jealous God, or are they there because some feel the need to infiltrate the world into the church?
Let’s continue. It’s recorded in Matthew 15:26 that Jesus called a woman a dog. Let me repeat that; Jesus called a woman a dog. Now the Greek word He used was “kynarion” meaning “little dog”, but a dog… is a dog… is a dog. Can you imagine where the women’s rights organizations would go with this today? Yet, a study of the text will reveal that He was only referring to her as being of lesser in status than those of the house of Israel. My take on this is as follows: I liken His terminology to that of what He would use today if being confronted by an individual. If that person were a sinner, that’s what He would refer to them as, in contrast to a Christian (a child of God). And please do not fill the comment section up with comments stating that we’re all “dirty rotten filthy sinners”. Maybe you feel that way about yourself. Me, I am a child of God who hates sin but does on occasion slip and commit sin, and upon realizing that I have offended God…I repent with bitter tears. A sinner by definition is one who loves sin, couldn’t care less that he sins and has offended God and feels no need to apologize and repent. ‘nuf said.
Then there are the times that Jesus engaged in “name calling”. Remember in Matthew chapter 23 when He publicly called the scribes and Pharisees “fools”, “hypocrites” (at least 7 times), “blind guides”, “serpents”, and “a generation of vipers”. And let’s not forget where in chapter 12, Jesus called these same Pharisees “evil”. Doesn’t appear to be very friendly does it? It seems to me that Jesus uses some rather strong adjectives to describe the religious leaders of that day. I think if I were with Jesus at that time, I’d suggest that He tone it down a notch and call them “fools”, “hypocrites”, “blind guides”, “serpents”, “a generation of vipers” and “evil”. I only say that because Jesus always called something or someone exactly as He saw it, and His eye sight was always perfect.
There is a time for tender words. (John 3:16) There is a time to simply hold your tongue and remain silent. (John 19:9) And there is a time to speak with clear cutting rebuke. (Matthew 23) May God through His Spirit give all of us the ability to determine when to speak and in what manner.
My thanks to Michael, a brother in Christ, who is my corrective grammarian.
To purchase a copy of his book, ” Keeping Covenant with God – Living by the Blood of Jesus”
Bing or Google: ISBN-10: 146101073X