The two sides of Jesus
|Created by Gerard de Vos|
Category: Christ related
We all regard Jesus as the epitome of compassion and love.
1. He came to save the world (John 3:16; Luke 23:42-43).
2. He took time to spend with the outcasts, the lepers and the prostitutes (Matthew 11:19).
3. He was willing to assist the disciples when their faith failed them (Luke 8:22-25; 22:31; John 20:24-29).
4. He cared for the widows (Luke 7:11-15) and raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44).
5. He showed love for His enemies. At the very last hour before His death, He healed the ear of one of the servants of the high priest (Luke 22:50-51).
6. He had a soft heart for children (Luke 18:15-17).
7. He was willing to break with a Jewish tradition of excluding the Samaritans by talking to a Samaritan woman of ill repute, explaining to her that He is the Christ (John 4:1-26).
8. He really showed us what God is like (John 14:9).
Yet His teachings were not always that ‘friendly’ and ‘nice’.
1. He said: You had better take note of what you think. Do not reason that since you are on your own, you can take a quick look at some pornographic material, since God sees exactly what you are doing. This is a translation of His words: ‘You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell’ (Matthew 5:27-30).
2. He also said that it is not enough to think that you are saved, and on your way to heaven. You had better do what He commands (Matthew 7:21-23), which includes doing your utmost (Luke 13:24 - ‘Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to’).
3. It also means that you cannot gaily go around doing your best to amass wealth, live a wonderful life in the world, and still think you are God’s best friend. He said: ‘You cannot serve both God and money’ (Matthew 6:24b). It is not impossible, for with God everything is possible, but a rich man will have difficulty entering the kingdom of God (Luke 18:24). Why? Because he is a friend of the world and Jesus said the world hates him (John 15:18). The Holy Spirit explains it in more detail in the book of James 4:4 - ‘you adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God?’ Money cannot buy salvation, only the blood of Jesus can.
4. He also said that His family are only those who do what the Word says (Luke 8:21), not those who think they are saved by accepting Jesus as their Saviour and then living as they please.
5. He did not guarantee a nice, easy life with harmonious relationships. ‘Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me.... And anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me’ (Matthew 10:37-29). The cross meant death in Jesus’ time. For us it means sacrificing everything to obtain eternal life.
Conclusion: Why does it look as if Jesus is strict when it comes to the whole question of salvation and service? It is to counter the idea which has been prevalent through ages that one just needs to accept Jesus as Saviour, and one is saved from the eternal lake of fire. This is a teaching from hell, as it does not at all accord with Jesus’ teaching. As the Creator, He knows what heaven entails, and that is why He doesn’t mince words about how important it is.
1) Heaven is eternal: which means that it will go on for millions of years.
2) It is wonderful: we will always see God.
3) It is life in the most magnificent surroundings.
4) There will not be burials, sicknesses, famines, hurricanes, political intrigues, wars, et cetera.
How much is that worth?
The opposite is logical: if we do not submit to God now, why will we do it in heaven for millions of years? God will never allow any subversion in the new kingdom, therefore it is obvious that potential rebels will be excluded. Anyone who refuses to submit to God’s rule here on earth, is labeled as a rebel. Heaven is worth so much that Jesus puts emphasis on it by His straight talk. Sweet words will not accomplish anything, and no person will be able to accuse Jesus of not using clear language. God, as the righteous Judge (Psalm 89:14) has to see to it that people understand very well what life is about: preparing for a heavenly eternity with Him. Those who reject it, will only have themselves to blame. The help of the Holy Spirit, Jesus interceding for us, God watching and supporting us, and the powerful Word to sustain us, is the very best support team we will ever have. Yet even God is powerless if we are not interested. Jesus gave everything, and stresses the importance of the decision by His ‘harsh’ words.