The Hard Sayings of Jesus
by Jack Wellman
Jesus said many things that people could not understand. Even His own disciples had difficulty in understanding Him. Many times those who were following Him followed Him no more because of the things He said were too hard to understand. Why did Jesus use such language that was hard to accept?
Hard Sayings of Jesus
What are meant by the hard sayings of Jesus are those that are exaggeration or hyperbole. One such example is when Jesus said in Matthew 5:30 “And if your right hand causes you to stumble, 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.” What Jesus was saying was much like what I once told a friend who was addicted to Internet pornography. I suggested that he either gets rid of the Internet or have a friend put a password protected filter on it. Now getting rid of the Internet might seem drastic but cutting off the access to the availability of pornography by getting rid of the Internet is more important to his walk with Christ because it is just too easy to access pornography. Far better to cut off the Internet than to stay addicted to Internet pornography and be involved with sexual immorality which is clearly an abomination to God. In fact sexual immorality is a very serious sin as Paul told the Corinthian church to “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body” (1 Cor 6:18). This is especially important because, “the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders” (1 Cor 6:9). The Corinthian church had great difficulty with the sin of sexual immorality because of the culture in the city of Corinth where the church was located.
The hard sayings of Jesus are not hard once a person has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and they come to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Committing Murder in the Heart?
Jesus had just finished the so-called Sermon on the Mount which included the Beatitudes. Just after these Jesus was revealing the true nature and meaning of the Law (Matt 5:21-43). In this section Jesus was showing that the Ten Commandments were an application of the Law externally, but there was more to these laws than people thought. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell” (Matt 5:21-22). The Sixth Commandment “you shall not murder” is an external application to God’s Law but Jesus took it a step further in essentially saying that murder starts in the heart and is internally motivated. What happens in a person’s heart is just as bad as what happens externally because the external is motivated by the internal feelings of mankind. To hate someone is equal to murdering them in their heart. Even calling someone a name, like “fool!” is hating someone with a hate equal to murdering them in the spirit…
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