In speaking yesterday about the hard sayings of Jesus in John 8, Tim made the statement that perhaps we have made God and Jesus more cuddly than they appear in the Bible.
There was much talk in the 60's about the old gray-haired man with a long beard sitting on a throne in heaven. Then I learned that Abba could be translated Daddy. These seemed irreverent to me and contained much less awe than I had planted in my brain by the "hell fire and damnation" preaching of my childhood.
Perhaps we are still rebeling against that preaching by seeking the softer Psalms to comfort us (nothing wrong with that!)and the pictures of Jesus blessing women and children. I was challenged yesterday by the question, "Would you truly want Jesus sitting beside you in church whispering things in your ear like he told the Pharisees in the temple in John 8?" Would we throw him out or invite him to join the church on the next corner?
It is not very comforting to be told as a "fine upstanding Christian" that you are a child of the devil. The passage made me sad as Jesus had to plead so passionately to the "fine, upstanding Christians" of that day to listen to him and his truth. To believe that he was God's son. What would I have been thinking in that crowd? Would I have leaned down to pick up a rock? Would I have called him a liar? Would I have believed him crazy?
O, God, I do believe in your son and I do yearn to understand his hard teachings. Thank you for his sacrifice and his love for recalcitrant children.