Are there Bible verses that make you scratch your head? Here are two that definitely make me scratch mine. Jn. 8:32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. And Mt. 10:34 Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. So which one is true? Does Jesus draw all people to Himself or does He bring strife? The answer? YES!
Jesus willingly gave Himself to be crucified on Calvary so that humans would be “drawn” to the love that filled that sacrifice. However, equally true, He insisted that He was God incarnate, the only way, truth and life. That brought and still brings division and strife among most of humans.
In a recent conversation with one of my dearest friends, about his youngest daughter, when I inquired about her relationship with the LORD, he replied: “She believes in God and prays.” I then asked, “Where is she with Jesus as the only way?” He sadly answered, “Not sure how she feels but I’d guess she’s not sure on that. That’s where she needs the most prayers.” That is also where all too many people live and why Jesus said that He came to bring a sword. The love which fills Jesus’ death on the cross “draws” his daughter to Himself, but His exclusive claim that He is the only way to the Father not only causes her to baulk, but most of humanity as well. And without being drawn all the way to Jesus as the only way, salvation remains beyond reach.
You see, the Father and the Son are a matched set, no one can have the Father without the Son. 1 Jn. 2:23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Jn. 5:22-23 For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Refusal to truly believe and surrender to the Son pushes the Father away as well.
Can you imagine someone saying to me, “Mike, I really love you and I want us to be close friends, but I don’t really care for your daughter, Christina. So could you ask her not to come around when I come over?” My reply? “GET OUT and GO AWAY. There is no way we will ever be friends.” The Father and the Son are either taken together equally or both are lost.
If you will carefully listen to many people speaking about their faith in public situations, you might be amazed at the number who will talk about how much they love God over and over again, but will never mention the “J” word. This is especially true of most politicians. God will receive quite a bit of attention in their speeches, but not Jesus. Why? Jesus divides. And the last thing a politician wants is division. The same is true on social media. If you see someone post praises about God, but you don’t see the “J” word, ask them about Him. Then ask them to praise both the Father and the Son. You may get unfriended.
The biggest problem with Jesus is that His claims and commands are so clear and specific that they can’t be misunderstood. A person can say they don’t agree with Him, but they can’t say they didn’t understand what He said. Jn. 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” That claim of His that He is the only way disgusts most humans in our world of tolerance. The vast majority of people expect not only acceptance of their right to do their own thing, but approval of whatever they choose. And the last thing they want to hear is some weirdo spouting off disapproval of their choices and insistence on Him being the only way to heaven. There is where the rub comes in: “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
When the Gospel is preached, it will always “draw” people, every time. However, the core of that Gospel is the exclusive Christ. And only that exclusive Christ saves. If you water Him down with tolerance, and mix in a dose of personal acceptance and approval, you kill the salvation.
Be the person who lives a life filled with the “J” word. Measure and evaluate others based on the “J” word being unashamedly real in their life. And when you realize that you have a family member or a friend, who you love dearly, but who baulks at the “J” word, share the saving message of the Gospel and the exclusive Christ once again. Remember: the Gospel will always DRAW, so let it draw your family and friends.
Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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