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July 05, 2006

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"He looked at them in anger...deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts..." - Mark 3:5

Chris,
It is funny that you mention this. I have a personal issue in my life that I have been wrestling with for the past year or so that I just cannot seem to surrender. Several weeks ago while I was praying and asking God to help me with this issue He said "STOP! JUST STOP! harshly, but also gently. He told me that He did not want to hear about it anymore. I was kind of SHOCKED! But you know, I just surrendered it right there and it has been a huge burden lifted off of me. I promised God that I would not talk negative about that issue anymore and I feel a real PEACE. I think that we need sometimes to be talked to harshly to get our attention. I know that I do.

Michelle

Chris, would you just pipe down and let me keep my Jesus in his box where he belongs! :D

Jesus had very little patience with the so called religious of the day. He was quick to rebuke them with the strongest of terms, "White washed Seplechures"... Yet with a bruised reed He would not crush. He knew the balance and knew who to harsh with. God give us the grace to follow the Model of your Son.

Michelle, that's a great example. Wow!

The author, Mark Galli, would likely respond by saying "the fact that Jesus was harsh with you demonstrates how much he loves you. He was harsh with you because he loves you. To not be harsh would be to not love you."

Now you've got me realizing...
In the 70's we needed God to "step on our toes"
In the 80's we needed God to "get in our face"
In the 90's we needed God to "kick our butts"
In the 21st century we need God to kick the #%@! out of us!

Ummm... I'm seeing a progression here.

"Sepulchres" and "bruised reeds" -- thanks, Curious, for drawing attention to these. They represent an amazing "tension", don't they?

Curious has a very good point: With whom was Jesus harsh? I recall Pharisees, scribes, other Jewish leaders of the day, his own disciples. (He wasn't particularly harsh with Pilate, was he?) I think the church to often has the wrong object of its harshness.

Bald Man -- let's expand your list to include:

His family (Mk 3:20-35)
Certain businessmen (Mk 5:1-20)
Demonized people (Mk 1:23-26)
Ordinary people (Mk 1:36-39; 43; 8:34-35; 9:19)

You're probably right that "the church to often has the wrong object of its harshness", but who are you thinking of?

Chris,
I'm thinking of the broken, the hurt, the sinful. Running through our combined list quickly in my mind, Jesus was harsh with those who opposed and perverted the Kingdom. e.g., the Pharisees and scribes who attended to the minor points of Law while ignoring the greater issues of justice and mercy; Peter and his family who misunderstood his identity and mission. He was compassionate with the leper, lame, the adulteress, stern in many cases but compassionate.

"the broken, the hurt, the sinful"

Bald Man -- yes, I believe you're right.

"Jesus was harsh with those who opposed and perverted the Kingdom."

Yes. I agree here as well.

And the ordinary folks who endured his harshness in Mk 9:19? They don't seem to fit any of the criteria you've mentioned, and certainly don't seem to "deserve" the harshness. What are your thoughts concerning them?

Chris,

Mark 9:19 does kind of catch you off gaurd... but the rebuke for a lack of faith seems (at least in my mind) quite different from the name calling he leveled against the religious leaders. This passage shows us that Jesus expected them to have more faith than they did, it answers the unpoken question of vs 18 - why the disciples couldn't help. Rebuke yes but also a clear teaching of the importance of faith. Consider some of the sermons given to the Churches in Revelation 2-3, quite heavy.

Hey, here's a link from Christianity Today that has a chapter excerpt from: Jesus Mean and Wild: The Unexpected Love of an Untamable God
< href="http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/007/23.36.html ">http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/007/23.36.html

Curious -- great thoughts. I think you're right about a difference existing between the "harshness" in Mk 9:19, and the stinging remarks made to religious leaders elsewhere. Maybe we should recognize that Jesus is not arbitrarily harsh, but is purposeful in his harshness -- both in terms of "who" and in terms of "how."

The content of Revelation's letters to the seven churches are indeed -- as you've pointed out -- "very heavy." Thanks for pointing that out.

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