It always boils down to the same old thing: let’s talk like Jesus, act like Jesus, and love like Jesus—but never confront like Jesus, rebuke like Jesus, and condemn like Jesus. Let’s never be angry with anyone or expect anyone to change his lifestyle because “Jesus loved everyone no matter how bad they were.”
Talk like Jesus? How about this? Get behind me Satan! You are a stumblingblock to me (Matt 16:23, addressed to one of his apostles). You are following me not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill, (John 6:26 to the crowds who followed him). You are of your father the Devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires, (John 8:44, to the believers in Jerusalem). You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape the sentence of hell? (Matt 23:33, to the religious leaders of the day.) Sounds like plain talk to me.
Act like Jesus? And he looked round about on them with anger, Mark 3:5. And he made a scourge of cords, and cast all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the changers' money, and overthrew their tables, John 2:15; and Jesus entered into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of he money-changers, and the seats of them that sold the doves; Matt 21:12, the last two, separate instances, years apart. In our culture he would have been arrested.
Love like Jesus? Neither do I condemn you; go your way and from here on sin no more, John 8:11. And Jesus, looking upon him, loved him, and said, One thing you lack, Mark 10:21. Jesus never accepted unchanged lives.
Then there are the ones who try to separate Jesus from his body, Christ…the head of the church, the savior of the body, Eph 5:23; and those who try to separate him from his teaching, whoever goes onward and abides not in the teaching of Christ, has not God, 2 John 9. And let’s not forget that he is the one who will come in flaming fire, rendering vengeance on those who know not God and obey not the gospel, 2 Thes 1:7,8.
It is the same old thing every time—some folks will only accept Christ on their terms. It is not a matter of “making him the Lord of their lives.” Instead, it is a matter of making themselves Lord, and telling Him which parts of him they will and won’t accept. The people in John 6 had that problem. When Jesus finally laid it on the line, he did not mollycoddle them or dilute his gospel. Instead, he said, Does this offend you? John 6:61. And after this many of disciples turned back and no longer walked with him, 6:66. Did he chase them down? No, he simply turned to the twelve and said, Will you go also? 6:67. He was not about to accept anyone who did not accept all of Him.
Sooner or later all this nonsense will die down again, but I expect it to reappear in another fifteen or twenty years, with someone else thinking he has discovered something new. Our focus then and now should be the focus those twelve had as they stood watching the crowds diminish and realizing, perhaps for the first time, that this calling was not a popular one. That even those they thought were on their side would leave at the first obstacle.
Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, John 6:68.