Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 12 No. 9 September 2010
Page 12

A Hard Saying

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson

In John 6, where the miracle of Jesus’ feeding the 5,000 is recorded, more than just food for the body was offered. Those who sought Him out the following day heard the great lesson on how Jesus was the bread of heaven, and what following Him really meant. More than His being just a bread Messiah, able to provide for their physical needs, Jesus came to offer Himself for the sins of the world, to offer life through His sacrifice. He pointed out the need for Him and His will to be an integral part of who we are, illustrated in the words, “feed on my flesh and drink my blood” (John 6:54).

Unable to discern the spiritual application of these words, many of the crowds left, believing Jesus was advocating some barbaric ritual. The larger body of disciples following Jesus was just as confused by His words. They responded, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (6:60). When Jesus explained to them He was speaking of spiritual principles (6:63), it was still hard for them to hear, to grasp and understand, so much so that many stopped following Jesus (6:66), leaving only the 12 when it was all over.

What made this teaching hard was their lack of spiritual insight, their inability to understand the spiritual principle Jesus was emphasizing, and thus their inability, and even a lack of desire, to follow what Jesus had said. This is not the only statement of Jesus and Scripture that could be labeled as hard. Many find Jesus’ statement to believe and be immersed (Mark 16:16) to be hard as well, not because it is difficult to understand, but because it goes against their preconceived ideas. The abundance of testimony Scripture offers to its necessity is virtually ignored or explained [meager, flawed attempts thereat] away, despite Peter clearly saying immersion and salvation are integrally connected (1 Peter 3:21).

It is not just those who have failed to obey the Gospel that can find some of the will of God hard. The desire to please oneself has caused the teaching of Scripture on singing praises to God to be hard, as instruments are being added in some congregations. Observing the Lord’s Supper only on the first day of the week, the role of women in the leadership of the church and other matters of faith are hard for some as well. Even for those who are not influenced by such changes, some of the Bible’s teaching about Christian living can be hard. Faithful attendance in worship, giving as one has been prospered, personal holiness and other aspects of daily Christian living can be hard when the heart is not devoted to the Lord. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). If we have truly given ourselves to the Lord, then will wanting to live for Him be a hard thing to do?

One thing that will truly be hard to hear is this saying of our Lord: “And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:23). As hard as those words will be to hear, those to whom they are spoken will have no choice but to be forever separated from Him, though Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). We each should ask ourselves which is the harder saying of Jesus, to live for him today or live without him for eternity.

A Greater Than Solomon Is Here

Tim Childs

Tim ChildsThe Queen of Sheba risked her life, health and treasures in traveling hundreds of miles (some estimate as much as 1,500 miles) to see whether she could confirm the fascinating reports that came to her ears about the famed king of Israel who succeeded David. Obviously, the queen had an investigative mindset and greatly desired to learn the truth about matters that, to that point, had been dark and hidden from her own understanding. Because of God’s gift to him, Solomon was able to answer every difficult question she introduced (1 Kings 10:3).

Jesus says, in Luke Chapter 11, that the Queen of the South will rise up in judgment and condemn that generation (for not having the same spirit and determination of the queen in seeking/learning hidden truth with an unbiased heart). Even from His youth, Jesus was equipped by the Holy Spirit to answer all the difficult questions posed by the doctors of the Law of Moses (Luke 2:46-47; John 3:34). How is it that Jesus is greater than Solomon was?

Jesus is greater because of the identity of His Father, who is the eternal God. Solomon, the third king of Israel, was born to King David and Bathsheba, who were mortal and are resting in their tombs.

Jesus is greater because of His purity of lifestyle and godly living throughout His lifetime. Solomon’s disobedience and lust for women brought about His departure from God and venture into the abominable practices of idolatry. God became sorely displeased with Solomon.

Jesus is greater because He delivered those who were weary, being burdened by oppression and slavery. Solomon oppressed the people under his dominion and used slaves in the effort to build his kingdom.

Jesus is greater because of the treasure of His riches that He shares with us daily (Ephesians 1:3). They are treasures that cannot be purchased with silver and gold. Solomon promoted trade and industry, but he acknowledged in Ecclesiastes that all his efforts produced vanity and vexation of spirit.

Jesus is greater because He brings an abiding peace and security to us, while Solomon brought a temporary measure of security to those under his rule. Jesus is greater because His kingdom is eternal and its glory shall never fade, while Solomon’s kingdom took a downward spiral, and its glory severely diminished following his death.

Jesus is greater because only He can take away our sins. He is “the Lamb of God,” without spot and without blemish. He sacrificed Himself upon the cross to cleanse our sins and to redeem us to God. Solomon was a sinful man, like us. Solomon could never have resolved man’s sin problem.

Jesus is greater because only He can take us home to see our Heavenly Father. Jesus is the Door unto eternal life. Only through Him can we make it home (John 14:6).

With better choices and self-control, Solomon could have had it all, so to speak. Jesus, however, does have it all. Follow him, and you, too, can have all anyone needs (2 Peter 1:3).

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