To most of us, it’s hard to associate ‘Jesus’ and ‘Tough’ in the same sentence. Of course he was a Carpenter (physical labor anyone?) who chased the vendors from the Temple with the aid of a whip (yes, really), but in spite of this, we still perceive him as a mild-mannered, kinda hippie-looking, kind-to-children, soft-spoken teacher who is best known for turning the other cheek and teaching us to love one another.
Nevertheless, there are these passages of the New Testament that really give us a different picture of the man some call God and Savior.
So here are the (arguably) top 6 toughest sayings of Jesus:
1- Buy a Sword. What? Did Jesus really say this? To the delight of most conservatives… Absolutely! While you’ll rarely hear this part of this New Testament dialogue on a Sunday morning at Church, Jesus did indeed tell his disciples to do just that.
“He said to them, ‘But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.’” Luke 22:36 (New International Version) (NIV)
These are pretty tough words from a man perceived to be to world’s foremost bringer of peace.
2- I have not come to bring peace. Huh? Say what? Hey, I didn’t write the Book. And yet, it’s in there… in Matthew 10:34-36 to be precise:
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.” (NIV)
Well, all I can say is this won’t make tense family gatherings for the Holidays any easier.
3- Bring them here and kill them in front of me. In a parable where Jesus unmistakably speaks of himself, we get a glimpse of a, shall we say, far more uncompromising Jesus than the one we have been taught in Sunday school. In Luke 19:27, the conclusion of this particular parable ends this way : “But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.”
Zeus? Thor? Yahweh? Not quite… Jesus.
4- Not right to give to the dogs. While most of us like treating our dogs like a member of the family, Jesus, in this passage of Scripture, seems pretty rude to the Canaanite woman. Or is that Canine woman? You be the judge…
“The woman came and knelt before him. ‘Lord, help me!’ she said. He replied, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.’” (Matthew 15: 25-26) (NIV)
Did he just call this woman a dog? Well, um, yup. But undone by that comment, she persisted and still got table scraps (i.e.: her daughter was healed).
5- Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees. The Scribes and Pharisees, who were the religious establishment of the day, had it in for Jesus. In one particular passage, Jesus decides to strike back at them and doesn’t hold any punches!
The passage is found in Matthew 23:1-39, and is too long to print here, but one notable excerpt (v. 33) reads like this: “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?”
Ouch! That must’a hurt! Actually, it hurt so much they plotted to kill him afterwards.
6- I never knew you. One belief that is very common about Jesus is that ‘He loves everybody.’ Well, there are definitely some major nuances to that belief when we see it tested against the New Testament. In Matthew 7:21-23 we read:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
Okay, so Heaven doesn’t have an Open Door Policy after all.
Well, there you have it. The 6 toughest sayings of Jesus. As you can see, He wasn’t very politically correct. In fact, He was a lot more badass than we give Him credit for. Who knew?
Has God asked you to do something that you are not sure about?
As believers, and as entrepreneurs, we are often guided by the Lord to do things that we are not sure about… or even things that we are terrified about.
Christians are told in the Scriptures to trust in God for all their needs. We are told that whoever God calls to do something, He will equip as well.
But we often over spiritualize this concept. We often think that God will give us peace amidst famine. We over-spiritualize our Father by undermining His actual care for our physical needs. Make no mistake about it: God will take care of our physical needs just as well as our spiritual ones. There is one Bible story in which Jesus did just that.
In Luke Chapter 5: 1-11, we read the following story…
“So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.
When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”
For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.”
In this story, we see the following lessons about God’s provision:
If we obey, He will bless us. We are told that Jesus borrowed Simon’s boat to teach the multitude. Simon (Peter) provided Jesus with a platform to bless others. So, when Jesus was done teaching, he told Peter to “launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
God knows our needs before we ask him. In the sermon on the mount, we are told “your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” Jesus knew he was going to ask Peter to forsake all and follow Him. But Peter had a wife and children he needed to provide for. He needed to work night and day as a fisherman to provide for his family. And depending on the catch, if was not steady income. Jesus was well aware of it. BOOM! The miracle catch was so huge that it made the two ships sink! We can only speculate about how much income it provide Peter with; but one thing’s for sure… it was enough for him to take a leave of absence from work. It was enough for him to “forsake all and follow him.” It gave Peter much needed peace of mind.
Sometimes, in order to follow Him, God will ask us to face our fears – to get out of our comfort zones, as a test of our faith. Other times, God, in His mercy, will appease our fears, just like in this story. He provided so well for Peter and the others, that they were able and willing to leave all and follow him.
God is a God who provides. After Abraham went to sacrifice his own son, Isaac, God provided a Ram instead for the sacrifice. That’s when Abraham named God (Jehovah Jireh): the God who provides. And in Ephesians 3:20-21we read: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations.”
As an entrepreneur, God may have asked something of you. Perhaps it is something that you are scared to do. Perhaps it is something that you have tried before and it didn’t work. Remember in the story, Peter had fished all night; he had cleaned his nets; he was exhausted – he was done. It was over. He didn’t want to go back out. And yet, upon Jesus’ calling him to go out, he did – and a net-breaking blessing followed.
If you are a Christian entrepreneur, and God has issued a call to you either for the next level in your biz, just to get started, for a change of direction, or perhaps even to make Him a bigger part of your company’s mission statement – do not be afraid to follow Him in uncharted waters.
Someone once said: “Calling is not without its crosses and trials, but let us not doubt of its compensations.”
If you do and go all out, if you dare to heed the call, to the deeper waters… God will break your net!
When God blesses you, trust me, you are going to need a bigger boat! Your net will rip! That’s how He does things; in a good and perfect way, with grace and abundance.
But before it does, you have to go out… and cast your net. You have to heed His call, go out, and cast your net even:
If you’re scared
If you’re not sure it’s going to work out
If you’re inexperienced
If you don’t have all the money you think you need
If you are told not to by friends and family
If logic tells you this is a bad idea
If in the past, the same thing didn’t work out for you
One thing that will help you become bolder and venture out to cast your net is remembering God’s former miracles and provisions in your life. God expects us to not forget the times when He acted on our behalf. And remembering these miracles will make you have more faith when things appear unsure. Look at this rebuke from Jesus to his apostles when they had forgotten his two miracle of the bread and fish and thought his teaching about the leaven of the Pharisees was about their next lunch:
“O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread?Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up?How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?” (Matthew 16:8-11)
To paraphrase Jesus, it’s as if He was telling them: “Guys, where were you when I multiplied the bread and fish? Don’t you get it? If you walk with me, you will not lack those necessities.”
Still fearful? Fear not. This admonition, ‘Fear Not’ is found many times in the Scriptures. A lady (Melinda Martin) set out to find out if it were true that it was repeated 365 times in the Bible; turns out it’s not. But, during this exercise, she actually put up a great list of Bible verses that tell us to be brave – to ‘Fear Not’. You can check it out here: http://bit.ly/fearnotbible
If God has called you out to venture out and cast your net – He will provide for you. You can take this to the bank – literally. And, as you do so, meditate daily on these few choice verses. Read them out loud to impress on your conscious and subconscious mind that if God has asked you to do something, he will provide for your needs and bless you in the process. This will also keep you positive and on track on a daily basis.
Here’s a video on this topic:
Sebastien Richard is a husband, father, author, copywriter, speaker and leadership trainer. He is also the founder (along with his wife, Elisabeth) of Thriving on Purpose, a faith-based coaching and leadership training company. His most recent book, Lead Like a Superhero – What Pop Culture Icons Can Teach Us About Impactful Leadership, is an unconventional approach to leadership, perfectly tailored for a new generation of leaders. It offers all of the proven, time-tested leadership principles, values, and tactics, with a never-before seen Pop-Culture Packaging. It’s definitely NOT your father’s leadership book!
We’ve all heard of the butterfly effect. You know, that “metaphorical example of the details of a hurricane (exact time of formation, exact path taken) being influenced by minor perturbations such as the flapping of the wings of a distant butterfly several weeks earlier.” (Wikipedia). But today I want to talk to you about something I have coined “The Jesus Effect.”
Most of us are somewhat familiar with the life and teachings of Jesus to one degree or another. But, most of us are not aware of how Jesus’ own acquaintances and family perceived Him once he began his teaching ministry. Bottom line, he got rejected, insulted, and his own family and town didn’t ‘buy into him.’ Yes, Shakespeare was right; familiarity does breed contempt.
Have you been there? Well, as you’re about to see, you’re in good company.
See Video Below:
DO YOU WANT TO CHANGE INTO A MORE POWERFUL LEADER?