“Some Radical Sayings of Jesus: An Understanding and the World’s Response,” by Andrew J. Schatkin
Jesus in his ministry and in his lifetime made many statements and sayings that require a great deal of analysis, understanding, and interpretation to grasp and fully absorb. This essay will examine and give thought to and seek to understand these sayings from the mind of god. Let me take a look at Matthew chapter 5 v. 3 where Jesus says the poor in spirit will inherit the kingdom of heaven. By the same token, and in a similar line of thinking, in Luke 6:20 he says the poor are blessed and that theirs is the kingdom of heaven. These particular verses are most challenging to our society where success is measured and we are measured by our wealth, our material goods, the clothes we wear, our house, our smart phone, our vacations, our appearance, and our designer shoes. If there is a system of thought or philosophy in the West, it is materialism. Jesus rejects this thinking and in some sense tells us that in poverty lies the truth and the road to be taken. These statements of Jesus challenge and defy our entire modern world of current thinking. Jesus says in Matthew 5 verse 21, that it was said of old not to kill. He says that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council; and whoever says you fool shall be liable to hell fire. Jesus then says in verse 27 that to look at a women with lust is to commit adultery in your heart. He then says in verse 33 that the former rule was not to swear falsely; he says not to swear at all. Jesus says in verses 38 that the former rule was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth; he says not to resist evil but to turn the other cheek when you are stricken on one cheek. Finally, Jesus says in verse 43 that it is not enough to love your neighbor and hate your enemy but to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
These sayings raise the moral bar immeasurably and are almost impossible of fulfillment without the aid and rescue of Jesus’s love and grace and his salvation. The statement that anger is equivalent to murder is a great insight on the part of the Lord who tells the root causes of murder and adultery anger and lust. Jesus’s moral commands and moral vision are in great advance of anything before or after. In these sayings, he is attempting to reach our limited human understanding and so to speak, in coming down to our weak humanity he is making clear further to fulfill these radical moral and ethical commands and demands we need the help of his rescue to take us from ourselves and the world encased in sin. We poor humans cannot reach the intellectual level of this apostle of love who tells us to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors and informs us that the wrong emotions such as anger and adultery cannot and are not acceptable as leading to death and adultery.
I have now examined and sought to achieve an understanding of these most profound sayings coming from the mind of the eternal god. Let me look at some of the world’s responses to these commands and words of direction and advice. Recently in Paris, an Irish professor of English was murdered by Pakistani student for insulting the prophet Mohammad and in Pakistan a professor was killed by a student for insulting the prophet Mohammad. Let me make clear that these are isolated criminal acts and that the great majority of our dear Muslim brothers and sisters in Christ are law-abiding, honest, and solid citizens seeking to support their families as they can. As a Christian, I know the love Jesus has for all mankind wherever they may and do reside. He died for all. Finally, I note that Jordan Sekulow in July and September of 2019 detailed the mass killing in Nigeria of Christians by Islamic fundamentalists and the investigation by the Department of Education of anti-Israel bias in UNC and Duke.
How do I end this little essay? I have no hostility or hatred and will not tolerate any bias or discrimination against our Muslim brothers and sisters in Christ, but only say that within that system there are some few who do what I have written of and only say they are in opposition to the sayings and thoughts and commands of Christ and that those who do these acts of violence are opposed to Jesus and oppose him as agents of Satan.