Seeking to accept Jesus’ words with a heart and mind which are free from preconceived ideas, is practically unthinkable. We’ve been trained to make sense of such teachings, making sure we’re accurately interpreting Jesus’ words so we can understand them better. It’s my contention that the sayings of Jesus are given to us not primarily to understand but to practice, not to comprehend but to experience. But realize, it’s in the real struggle to practice His words that we begin to understand them. We don’t think them into reality, we experience them into reality.[featured-image single_newwindow=”false”]
So, here are 15 teachings of Jesus with which you can wrestle. In the context of our modern world and cultural norms, let alone our theological biases, these sayings are shocking. Taken at face value, they are unreasonable and impractical to live. Yet, because Jesus said them, we know they are true.
I do not present much commentary since the point here is to challenge you to struggle in living these not to struggle in comprehending them.
Instead of asking, “What does Jesus mean?” ask, “How do I make this a reality in my life?”
15 Shocking Teachings of Jesus
- Assuredly I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18.3)
- Whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18.4)
- Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives me. (Matthew 18.5)
- From the days of John the Baptist, until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. (Matthew 11.12)
- Whoever loves his life will lose it, but whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12.25)
- Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. (Matthew 25.40) Jesus’ brothers and sisters are the hungry, thirsty, stranger, person needing clothes, sick, and imprisoned.
- But I tell you, do not resist evil. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthew 5.39)
- Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. (Matthew 20.27)
- For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give HIs life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10.45)
- Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. (Luke 6.20)
- I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. (John 6.53)
- I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And this bread, which I will give for the life of the world, is My flesh. (John 6.51)
- If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers, and sisters – yes, even their own life – such a person cannot be by disciple. (Luke 14.16)
- Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake. (Matthew 5.11)
- I am the way, the truth and the life. (John 14.6) The source of our processes (systems, designs), all reality, and all active being is a Person not propositions.
Bonus: “And Jesus strictly charged them to tell no one about Him.” (Mark 8.30) Though not a direct saying of Jesus, he did tell the apostles to not spread the word about Him.
It is easy to dismiss these sayings, explain them away, or soften them so they mean little. Down deep we know that taking them at face value is dangerous. Surely there’s some way to step around these realities so we don’t have to be confronted with their truth.
But, being confronted by their truth is needed. You and I need to be shocked out of our mediocrity. Our openness to accept the status quo must be challenged. Jesus does this with Hislife and words. Do we see it? Do we hear it? Does it matter?
Jesus’ teachings are often ignored because we don’t want Him to disrupt our ideas, theology, or opinions. We want Him to get us to heaven but not get heaven into us. We’d have to change so much about ourselves. Keeping Him at arms length allows us to live more comfortably.
That’s why Jesus’ words are dangerous to the Christian life as we know it. They challenge us to change and they make us uncomfortable.
But, I hope you’ll take up the challenge:
- Decide to struggle with Jesus and His teachings.
- Battle your “reasonings” and rationalizations.
- Test your ideas against Jesus’ truth.
- Be courageous and unassuming.
- Let Jesus be your guide for living.
- Repeat this prayer to Christ for guidance and illumination daily:
Christ, the true Light, You enlighten and sanctify every man who comes into the world. Make the light of Your countenance shine upon us, that in it we may see your unapproachable light, and guide our steps that we may keep your commandments. Amen.
What is your response to these shocking statements of Jesus? What will you do with them? Share below.