There is much confusion about the character of Jesus Christ, the son of God. He came to earth as a man, with all the weaknesses and temptations of a man, yet He was God in the flesh. Matthew 1:23 “...they shall call his name Emmanuel ...God with us.” When you study the life of Jesus you can understand how God the Father thinks, judges and relates with emotion. Many people have a false concept of Christ due to a lack of teaching. They think of Him as someone who just wants them to be happy and comfortable. Yet if you do an objective in-depth study of the Scriptures, you will find an individual that was very loving at times, yet was a fierce defender of the truth when necessary. He was a teacher that expected his disciples to learn or be sharply rebuked.
Matthew 17:15-18 reads, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said to his own disciples, ‘O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I have to bear with you? Bring him to me.’ And Jesus rebuked the demon and it came out of him and the child was cured from that very hour.” Jesus then explained to his disciples that they could not cast out the demon because of their unbelief and that this requires prayer and fasting. (Matthew 17:19-21)
Yes, Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He offers forgiveness and salvation to all that will freely receive Him as Lord and Savior. At times He ate with sinners and harlots, never condoning their sins, but willing to lovingly forgive them if they would forsake their sins and follow Him. Jesus would never reject an individual because they were not fully sanctified, nobody ever is, but He would patiently lead them into truth by influence, teaching and discipleship. People who attempt to separate others from family or friends because they feel they are not perfect enough are cruel and unlike Christ. When family and friends are trying to be sincere Christians, but may not agree or understand the Scriptures the way some think they should, it is cruel to refuse to fellowship with them or to prevent children from knowing their own relatives because of a sanctimonious “holier than thou” attitude. Jesus would sharply rebuke these individuals as a Pharisee, accuser and separator of the brethren.
Please read Matthew 23. The entire chapter is filled with “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites...Ye fools and blind...” with prophetic warnings of judgment to come. Jesus despised the attitude of “holier than thou” people that are constantly accusing, condemning the brethren. Matthew 23:25-28, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchers which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”
And we should never forget that Jesus drove thieves out of the temple several times. Read John 2:13-17, Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15 and Luke 19:45. Neither should we forget Jesus was greatly misunderstood by most of his family, friends and disciples who constantly questioned his actions. (John 7:5; Mark 3:21; Matthew 8:23-27; 13:57-58; 21:23 and 28:17) Some religious leaders even said he was a devil, see Mark 3:22.
Jesus moved with feelings, passion and emotions. He loved the sinner and those striving to walk according to the truths of God. He did, as a father, get firmer with his disciples when they did not learn the truths of God and implement them, but he never forsook them, condemned them or cast them out. Jesus rebuked the person with the “holier than thou” attitude that condemned and rejected others as Jesus entire message of the gospels is one of love, forgiveness and restoration to God, family and friends. God help us to see Jesus the way He still is today!!
Dr. Jonathan Hansen
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